Case of the Day: Pine Top Receivables v. Banco de Seguros del Estado

The case of the day is Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Banco de Seguros del Estado (7th Cir. 2014). Pine Top Insurance Company claimed it was owed more than $2 million by Banco de Seguros del Estado, an instrumentality of the Uruguayan government, under reinsurance contracts. When Pine Top failed, its claims against the bank ultimately ended up in the hands of Pine Top Receivables, which sued to collect. Under Illinois law, because the bank was not authorized to carry out an insurance business in the state, it had to post security when it served its answer to the complaint. It failed to do so, and Pine Top sought to strike the answer. The bank opposed the motion to strike on the ground that the security requirement was an attachment forbidden by the FSIA.
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In re Application of Kegel

The case is In re Application of Kegel (D.N.D. 2014). Adam Kegel was the plaintiff in a class action pending in Montreal, Kegel v. National Bank of Canada. He made an application to the district court in North Dakota under § 1782 for a subpoena to Joseph Kostelecky. The court granted the application, and Kegel apparently obtained the evidence he sought from Kostelecky. Kegel then sought an order declaring that nothing in the court’s prior order or US law would prohibit him from using the evidence in another Canadian case, Goldsmith v. National Bank of Canada, which was an Ontario case that paralleled the Québec case.
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Case of the Day: Stichting Shell Pensionenfonds v. Krys

The case of the day is Stichting Shell Pensionenfonds v. Krys [2014] UKPC 41. Shell, a Dutch pension fund, had invested in shares of Fairfield Sentry Ltd., a BVI mutual fund and the largest “feeder fund” for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, which needs no introduction. After Madoff’s arrest, Shell immediately sought to redeem its shares in Fairfield, but of course it received nothing. So Shell applied to a court in Amsterdam, its home jurisdiction, for an order attaching bank accounts of Fairfield held by Citco Bank Nederland BV, Fairfield’s asset custodian, in its Dublin branch. The Dutch court approved the attachment; everyone agreed that the Dutch court had jurisdiction over Citco. The High Court of the BVI ordered Fairfield to be wound up and appointed Krys and Lau as liquidators. Shell submitted a claim in the BVI insolvency claim but its claim was rejected. So the situation was that if Shell was allowed to litigate the merits of its claim in the Netherlands and succeeded there, then it would receive the full amount of its claim on account of the attachment, and in effect to have priority over other creditors, who could not hope for such a recovery in the BVI insolvency proceedings. Indeed, as Shell admitted, that was the point of the attachment. Krys and Lau moved in the BVI court for an anti-suit injunction enjoining Shell from prosecuting its claim in the Netherlands and requiring Shell to procure a release of the attachment. The BVI Court of Appeal held in favor of the liquidators, and Shell appealed to the Privy Council.
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Case of the Day: Petmas Investors v. Sameiet Holbergs Gate 19

The case of the day is Petmas Investors Ltd. v. Sameiet Holbergs Gate 19 (D.N.J. 2014). Sameiet Holdbergs operated a business in Oslo. In 2008, a renovation in the building damaged Sameiet’s space, and Sameiet sued Petmas Investors, which it claimed was responsible for the damage, in a Norwegian court. Petmas, a US firm, asserted that Sameiet had not properly served it with process under the Hague Service Convention. It brought an action in the US District Court seeking to quash the service in the Norwegian case or to order the Norwegian case dismissed.
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Cuba and International Judicial Assistance

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the United States and Cuba will normalize their relations. This announcement, the long-overdue release of American Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds, and the honorable exchange of three of the so-called “Cuban Five” for a US intelligence agent, show that despite the predictable fury from American hardliners on Cuba such as Senator Rubio and Senator Menendez, things can change for the better and we don’t need to keep repeating the mistakes our grandparents made forever. What a great message for this time of the year!
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Book Review: Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art

The Illustrated CourtroomI’ve always thought that a good courtroom sketch can tell you more about what really goes on in a trial than a transcript or even sometimes than a good firsthand narrative account. A trial is a drama, and sometimes the drama is conveyed better by the expression on the witness’s face, or the body language of the lawyer confronting the witness in front of the judge or the jury, than by the transcript.

If you think this way, or even if you don’t, you will love The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art, by Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell. (more…)

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Maya Steinitz on “The Case For An International Court of Civil Justice”

Maya Steinitz of the University of Iowa College of Law has recently published The Case For An International Court Of Civil Justice, 67 Stan. L. Rev. Online 75 (2014). The paper proposes creation of an international court to exercise jurisdiction over cross-border torts. I’d like to congratulate Professor Steinitz on her contribution to the debate about ways to solve the perceived lack of access to justice in cross-border tort cases and to recommend her paper to Letters Blogatory readers.
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Case of the Day: In re Application for an Order Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782

The case of the day is In re Application for an Order Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 (2d Cir. 2014). This is the appeal from In re Application of Berlamont, the case of the day from August 21, 2014.
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