Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeking the return of three children from New York to Thailand. The court held that the Convention does not enter into force until a ratifying state accepts an acceding state's accession and that Article 35 limits the Convention's application to removals and retentions taking place after the Convention has entered into force between the two states involved. Therefore, because the Convention did not enter into force between the United States and Thailand until April 1, 2016, after the allegedly wrongful retention of the children in New York on October 7, 2015, the Convention does not apply to petitioner's claim and the district court did not err in dismissing his petition. View "Marks v. Hochhauser" on Justia Law

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Judgment creditors of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security sought to enforce underlying judgments obtaining the turnover of $1.68 billion in bond proceeds allegedly owned by Bank Markazi. The Second Circuit held that the settlement agreements released plaintiffs' non-turnover claims with respect to some but not all of the banks; the assets at issue were in fact located abroad, but that those assets may nonetheless be subject to turnover under state law pursuant to an exercise of the court's in personam jurisdiction, inasmuch as the district court has the authority under New York State law to direct a non‐sovereign in possession of a foreign sovereignʹs extraterritorial assets to bring those assets to New York State; and those assets will not ultimately be subject to turnover, however, unless the district court concludes on remand that such in personam jurisdiction exists and the assets, were they to be recalled, would not be protected from turnover by execution immunity. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, alleging that defendant, who had power of attorney over plaintiff's finances, stole millions of dollars from him through fraudulent financial schemes. The district court granted defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiff failed to allege a domestic injury as required by RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community, 136 S. Ct. 2090 (2016). The Second Circuit held that, to the extent plaintiff alleged injuries to property located within the United States, he satisfied the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act's, 18 U.S.C. 1964(c), domestic injury requirement. But to the extent plaintiff alleged injuries to property located outside of the United States, the fact that defendant or his co‐defendants transferred those stolen funds to (or through) the United States fails to transform an otherwise foreign injury into a domestic one. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Yarur Bascunan v. Yarur Elsaca" on Justia Law

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A Chinese construction company and seven of its employees challenged the district court's order denying their motion to quash subpoenas requiring the employees to appear before a grand jury. The Second Circuit affirmed the order, holding that the 2009 Bilateral Agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) incorporates a 2003 Diplomatic Note that imposes a registration requirement on construction personnel. In this case, the Executive Branch reasonably interpreted the relevant agreements as requiring construction personnel to register with the State Department before receiving immunity and because that condition was not satisfied here, the employees were not entitled to diplomatic immunity. View "In re Grand Jury Subpoenas Returnable December 16, 2015" on Justia Law

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Discovery sought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782 is for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal where the applicant is a crime victim authorized to submit the discovery to the foreign tribunal, but is not making a claim for damages therein. The Second Circuit also held that an applicant that lawfully has obtained discovery under Section 1782 as to one foreign proceeding may use that discovery in other foreign proceedings. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order granting petitioners' application for discovery in aid of foreign litigation under Section 1782. View "Bouvier v. Adelson" on Justia Law

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Vera sued the Republic of Cuba for the extrajudicial killing of his father in 1976. In 2008, Vera obtained a default judgment against Cuba in Florida state court, relying on the “terrorism exception” to sovereign immunity, 28 U.S.C. 1605A(a)(1). Vera then secured a default judgment against Cuba in a U.S. District Court in New York, which granted full faith and credit to the Florida judgment. Vera served information subpoenas on the New York branches of various foreign banks, including BBVA, which refused to comply with the subpoena’s request for information regarding Cuban assets located outside the U.S. BBVA moved to quash the subpoena, contending that Vera’s judgment was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1602. The Second Circuit reversed in favor of BBVA. The district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Vera’s action against Cuba because Cuba was not designated a state sponsor of terrorism at the time Vera’s father was killed. Vera failed to establish that Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terrorism as a result of his father’s death. The FSIA’s terrorism exception to sovereign immunity—the only potential basis for subject matter jurisdiction— did not apply. Cuba was immune from Vera’s action. View "Vera v. Republic of Cuba" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) after he was held in immigration detention for more than three years because the government mistakenly believed that he was a deportable alien. The district court found the government liable to plaintiff on the false imprisonment claim, dismissed the malicious prosecution claim and negligent investigation claim on motion, and entered judgment for the government on the negligent delay claim post-trial. The Second Circuit reversed the judgment as to the false imprisonment claim because it was time-barred. The court affirmed the judgment in all other respects, holding that the malicious prosecution claim failed because the government did not act with malice, the negligent investigation claim failed for lack of a private analogue, and the negligent delay claim failed because plaintiff suffered no cognizable damages. View "Watson v. United States" on Justia Law

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Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(5) applies to a district court's consideration of a motion to vacate a judgment enforcing an arbitral award that has since been annulled in the primary jurisdiction. In this case, petitioners submitted to arbitration in Malaysia a commercial dispute arising from the terminations by Laos of contracts granting TLL rights to mine lignite. An arbitral panel found Laos in breach and awarded petitioners approximately $57 million. Petitioners subsequently began enforcement actions under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Petitioners received judgment in their favor in the United States and United Kingdom. In 2012, the arbitral award was set aside. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order vacating the United States judgment, holding that the district court did not exceed the permissible bounds of its discretion under the facts of this case. The court also held that the district court did not exceed the permissible bounds of its discretion in refusing to order Laos to post security during the pendency of its Rule 60(b) motion and any subsequent appeals, nor did it err by refusing to enforce the English judgment. View "Thai-Lao Lignite (Thailand) Co., Ltd. v. Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Amendment's prohibition on the use of compelled testimony in American criminal proceedings applies even when a foreign sovereign has compelled the testimony.  When the government makes use of a witness who had substantial exposure to a defendant's compelled testimony, it is required under Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972), to prove, at a minimum, that the witness's review of the compelled testimony did not shape, alter, or affect the evidence used by the government.  A bare, generalized denial of taint from a witness who has materially altered his or her testimony after being substantially exposed to a defendant’s compelled testimony is insufficient as a matter of law to sustain the prosecution’s burden of proof. In this case involving the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), defendants were convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The Second Circuit held that defendants' compelled testimony was "used" against them, and this impermissible use before the petit and grand juries was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.  Accordingly, the court reversed the judgments of conviction and dismissed the indictment. View "United States v. Allen" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in declining to vacate an arbitral award‐creditor’s ex parte petition for entry of a federal judgment against a foreign sovereign premised on an award made under the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention). The court rejected Mobil's argument that 22 U.S.C. 1650a provides an independent grant of subject‐matter jurisdiction for actions against foreign sovereigns and decided that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330, 1391(f), 1441(d), 1602‐1611, provides the sole basis for subject‐matter jurisdiction over actions to enforce ICSID awards against a foreign sovereign. Because Mobil's utilization of ex parte proceedings were neither permitted by the FSIA nor required by Section 1650(a), the court reversed Venezuela's motion to vacate, vacated the judgment in favor of Mobil, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the ex parte petition. View "Mobil Cerro Negro, Ltd. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" on Justia Law