Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court granted appellees' petition for rehearing for the limited purpose of vacating the original decision and simultaneously issuing this amended decision to correct the court's instructions to the district court with regards to the applicable law for an enforcement action at Section I.c., infra. In No. 15‐1133, the court held that the district court both (1) erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court and (2) erred in holding that appellants' fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion was an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly alleged that appellees engaged in fraud. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings. In 15‐1146, the court held that the appeal of the judgment dismissing the action to confirm was moot and accordingly dismissed that appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court held that the district court erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court, and in holding that appellants’ fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion is an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly allege that appellees engaged in fraud. In No. 15-1133, the court vacated the dismissal of the action to enforce and remanded for further proceedings. In No. 15-1146, the court found the appeal of the district court's order in the action to conform is moot and dismissed the appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, five entities incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, filed suit against the Republic of Ecuador and two of Ecuador's instrumentalities, CFN and Trust, claiming that an agency of the Republic of Ecuador unlawfully seized their property in Ecuador. The district court dismissed the complaint with prejudice for want of subject matter jurisdiction. The court affirmed and concluded that the presumption of legal separateness established by the Supreme Court in First National City Bank v. Banco Para el Comercio Exterior de Cuba, and respect for international comity compel the court to treat these legally separate entities as just that, unless plaintiffs can demonstrate that CFN and the Trust exercise “significant and repeated control over the [entities’] day‐to‐day operations.” Because plaintiffs have failed to clear this substantial bar, they fail to satisfy the requirements of Section 1605(a)(3) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(3). Therefore, defendants are protected by sovereign immunity and the court need not consider the alternative bases for dismissal relied on by the district court or presented by defendants. View "Arch Trading Corp. v. Republic of Ecuador" on Justia Law

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Eleven American families filed suit against the PLO and the PA under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 18 U.S.C. 2333(a), for various terror attacks in Israel that killed or wounded plaintiffs or their families. A jury awarded plaintiffs damages of $218.5 million, an amount that was trebled automatically pursuant to the ATA, 18 U.S.C. 2333(a), bringing the total award to $655.5 million. Both parties appealed. The court concluded that the minimum contacts and fairness analysis is the same under the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment in civil cases. On the merits, the court concluded that, pursuant to the Supreme Court's recent decision in Daimler, the district court could not properly exercise general personal jurisdiction over defendants. The court also concluded that, because the terror attacks in Israel at issue here were not expressly aimed at the United States and because the deaths and injuries suffered by the American plaintiffs in these attacks were “random [and] fortuitous” and because lobbying activities regarding American policy toward Israel are insufficiently “suit-related conduct” to support specific jurisdiction, the court lacks specific jurisdiction over these defendants. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for the district court with instructions to dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction. The court did not consider defendants' other arguments on appeal or plaintiffs' cross-appeal, all of which are now moot. View "Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Org." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, seeking to hold LCB, a Lebanese bank headquartered in Beirut, liable for providing international financial services to Hezbollah that they claim facilitated Hezbollah’s 2006 attacks that injured them or killed family members. The district court dismissed the ATS claims under Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., reasoning that plaintiffs failed to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application of the ATS. The court concluded, however, that plaintiffs have surpassed the jurisdictional hurdle set forth in Kiobel II where the complaint alleges conduct by LCB that touched and concerned the United States, and that the same conduct, upon preliminary examination, states a claim for aiding and abetting Hezbollah’s violation of the law of nations, with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritoriality. Nevertheless, Kiobel I forecloses plaintiffs’ claims against LCB where corporations are immunized from liability under the ATS. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part the judgment of the district court. View "Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, citizens of the United States and Haiti, filed suit against the UN, asserting various causes of action sounding in tort and contract, seeking to hold defendants responsible for injuries directly resulting from the cholera epidemic in the Republic of Haiti in 2010. Principally at issue on appeal is whether the UN’s fulfillment of its obligation under Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (CPIUN), Apr. 29, 1970, 21 U.S.T. 1418, to “make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement of . . . disputes arising out of contracts or other disputes of a private law character to which the [UN] is a party,” as well as “disputes involving any official of the [UN] who by reason of his official position enjoys immunity, if immunity has not been waived by the Secretary‐General,” is a condition precedent to its immunity under Section 2 of the CPIUN, which provides that the UN “shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except insofar as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity.” The court held that the UN’s fulfillment of its Section 29 obligation is not a condition precedent to its Section 2 immunity. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal against named defendants for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Georges v. United Nations" on Justia Law

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Defendants, the Donziger Firm and others, appealed the district court's grant of certain relief against them in favor of Chevron, in connection with an $8.646 billion judgment obtained against Chevron in Ecuador by the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs represented by the Donziger Firm. The judgment award was for environmental damage in connection with the Texaco oil exploration activities in Ecuador from the 1960s-1990s. On appeal, defendants challenge the district court's judgment, arguing principally that the action should have been dismissed on the ground that Chevron lacks Article III standing, and/or that the judgment should be reversed on the grounds, inter alia, that it violates principles of international comity and judicial estoppel, exceeds any legal authorization for equitable relief, and was entered without personal jurisdiction over defendants other than Donziger and his Firm. The court found no basis for dismissal or reversal in the absence of challenges to the district court's factual findings; considering the express disclaimers by the Ecuadorian appellate courts of their own jurisdiction to "hear and resolve" the above charges of corruption, "preserving the parties' rights" to pursue those charges in actions in the United States; and considering the district court's confinement of its injunction to a grant of in personam relief against the three defendants-appellants without disturbing the Ecuadorian judgment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Chevron Corp. v. Donziger" on Justia Law

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COMMISA contracted with PEP to build oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. When the parties accused each other of breach of contract, COMMISA initiated arbitration proceedings, prevailed, and obtained an award of approximately $300 million. The district court then affirmed the award and PEP appealed, while simultaneously attacking the arbitral award in the Mexican courts. The court held that the Southern District properly exercised its discretion in confirming the award because giving effect to the subsequent nullification of the award in Mexico would run counter to United States public policy and would (in the operative phrasing) be “repugnant to fundamental notions of what is decent and just” in this country; PEP’s personal jurisdiction and venue objections are without merit; and the Southern District did not exceed its authority by including in its judgment $106 million attributed to performance bonds that PEP collected. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Corporacion Mexicana De Mantenimiento Integral v. Pemex-Exploracion" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, victims of terrorist acts linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran, contend that they are entitled to enforce unsatisfied money judgments against defendants under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1602 et seq., and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), 28 U.S.C. 1610 note. The court concluded that defendants in this case do not equate to the “foreign state” of Iran for purposes of the FSIA or the TRIA; defendants cannot be deemed “agencies or instrumentalities” of Iran under the FSIA, but defendants’ status as “agencies or instrumentalities” of Iran under the TRIA and their properties’ status as “blocked assets” under that statute is not foreclosed as a matter of law; but, nonetheless, the court identified questions of fact that prevent either of these TRIA questions from being decided on summary judgment. Accordingly, the court vacated the award of summary judgment for plaintiffs and remanded for further proceedings. View "Kirschenbaum v. 650 Fifth Avenue and Related Properties" on Justia Law

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This case arose when Leeward and AUA entered into an agreement for Leeward to build a medical school for AUA in Antigua. AUA subsequently appealed the district court's confirmation of an international arbitration award entered in favor of Leeward. AUA principally argues that the district court erred in confirming the award because the arbitration panel failed to fulfill its obligation to produce a reasoned award.The court held, however, that an arbitration decision need not contain a line‐by‐line analysis of damages awarded to be considered a reasoned award. Rather, an arbitration award is a reasoned award when it contains a substantive discussion of the panel’s rationale. The court considered AUA's remaining arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. The court disposed of Case No. 15-1595-cv in a separate summary order issued concurrently with this decision. View "Leeward Construction Co. v. American Univ. of Antigua" on Justia Law