Case of the Day: Kuznetsov v. Kuznetsova

The case of the day is Kuznetsov v. Kuznetsova (N.Y. App. Div. 2015). The husband and wife were married in Russia in 1991. In 2003, the husband obtained an ex parte judgment of divorce from a Russian court. In 2007, the husband then sought a divorce, and other relief, in Kings County, New York. The wife sought a declaration that the Russian divorce was valid and that the parties’ 2002 separation agreement was also valid. The husband sought a declaration that both were invalid. The judge ruled in favor of the wife, and the husband appealed.

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Case of the Day: Freedom Watch v. OPEC

The case of the day is Freedom Watch, Inc. v. OPEC (D.D.C. 2015). I’ve written about the case twice before, once in December 2013 and once in September 2014. Here’s the case:

Freedom Watch, a right-wing organization that accuses the “Obama-Clinton regime” of “using the economic crisis as an excuse to turn our nation into a socialist Euro-style welfare state,” sued OPEC on antitrust theories. I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that its claims lacked merit. OPEC moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process. According to OPEC’s motion to dismiss, “Plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Larry Klayman, personally handed an envelope containing a summons, the complaint and other documents, all in English, to an Austrian police officer (not an employee of OPEC) who was present at the reception desk in the lobby of OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna.” On the other hand, according to the return of service, filed after the motion to dismiss, Courtney Butcher of Beverly Hills, California served the summons at OPEC headquarters on Frederich Luger, “intake officer of OPEC,” who supposedly was designated by law to accept service of process on OPEC.


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Case of the Day: Nanko Shipping v. Alcoa

The case of the day is Nanko Shipping USA v. Alcoa, Inc. (D.D.C. 2015). The Republic of Guinea is a major source of bauxite, the world’s main source of aluminum. In the past 50 years, the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, owned by Guinea and by Halco Mining, Inc., has produced more than 600 tons of bauxite for export. The bauxite has been used to produce 150 million tons of aluminum, worth more than $400 billion. Guinea, which had the right to ship half of the bauxite CBG mined under a contract with Halco, had a contract with Nanko Shipping Guinea, under which Nanko would exercise Guinea’s right to ship the bauxite. Nanko and its parent company, Nanko Shipping USA, as well as its principal, Mori Diane, sued Halco and Alcoa, which it claimed was an alter ego of Halco (and, with Rio Tinto, majority owner of Halco), alleging that Nanko was a third-party beneficiary of the contract and that Halco and Alcoa had refused to allow Nanko to ship the bauxite. Alcoa moved to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party, namely Guinea.

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Case of the Day: Baker & McKenzie v. Frisone

The case of the day is Baker & McKenzie Zurich v. Frisone (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015). Baker & McKenzie had represented Anna Frisone, Vincent Savarese, and Rosalie Frisone before the IRS withe regard to “United States tax regularization for the years 2003–2008 and 2002, if required, regarding cash assets held in a Swiss bank in Lugano, Switzerland, which the defendants had failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service for a number of years.” Its claim was for unpaid invoices. It obtained a judgment for CHF 4,305 against Rosalie Frisone and for CHF 32,966 against Anna Frisone and Vincent Savarese, and it sought recognition and enforcement in New York.

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Lago Agrio: New Ted Olson Brief, And The Sharon Stone Case

Chevron’s lawyer, Ted Olson, has now responded to the appellants’ post-argument briefing with a very good letter brief of his own. The brief makes what I think is an appealing point about the BIT arbitration. Donziger now points to the BIT arbitration and the risk that it will yield an inconsistent finding of fact, particularly on the ghostwriting issue. Well, Olson writes, hasn’t Donziger waived or disclaimed any reliance on the arbitral tribunal, and any argument that the courts should defer to it, by his regular attack on the arbitrators and the arbitration? I’m not sure that this is compelling doctrinally, but it has persuasive value, because Donziger’s team has been badmouthing the tribunal and its members for a long time. Olson makes other points about the BIT arbitration that seem stronger. Two proceedings were necessary, he claims, because Ecuador could not have been joined in the RICO litigation on account of its sovereign immunity, and Donziger and the LAPs could not have been joined in the arbitration. That seems basically right to me, though I’m not really sure how far it gets Chevron. The point about the risk of inconsistent decisions doesn’t have much to do with the purity of Chevron’s motives in bringing the multiple claims, as far as I can tell.

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