Event Announcement: The Effects of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements on International Arbitration

Readers, if you are in Washington on February 10, I invite you to attend a panel discussion on "The Effects of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements on…

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Aaron Marr Page on the Special Rapporteur Letter

Aaron Marr Page responds constructively to my post on his letter to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

I’ll briefly respond to one point and add one observation.

As someone who watched things unfold, I can say that Ted’s speculative claim that “the reason Chevron’s threats were so potent was because there was some underlying wrongdoing that made Patton Boggs and the others perceive a serious risk of liability” is wrong. It is true, as he says, that some “allies” like Burford were “spooked,” in the sense that as soon as they heard Chevron’s allegations they starting looking for the exit (including, in Burford’s case, by coordinating with Chevron behind their own clients’ backs). Others were the victims of flat-out, unapologetic economic extortion campaigns, such as folks from Stratus Consulting, the company that Chevron brought to its knees by crushing it with litigation, intervening in a dispute with its litigation insurer to make sure the insurer would not cover the litigation expenses, and sending smear-campaign letters to Stratus’ other clients. (How we all tolerate this kind of conduct as just “part of the game” is beyond me.) But allies who took the time to unpack Chevron’s allegations and really understand the facts did not end up abandoning ship.
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Lago Agrio: The LAPs Approach The Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

The Europe / Third World Center and LAP advocate (and Letters Blogatory contributor) Aaron Marr Page have submitted a letter to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michael Forst. It seems highly unlikely to me that the letter will result in anything changing in the case, but I thought it was a pretty interesting letter worth commenting on, even if it lacks practical importance.
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Lago Agrio: Dutch Court Rejects Ecuador’s Motion to Set Aside the Interim Awards

The District Court of the Hague has rejected Ecuador’s attempt to set aside the interim awards entered by the tribunal hearing the BIT dispute between Ecuador and Chevron. As I have previously noted, the tribunal had ordered Ecuador to “take all measures necessary to suspend or cause to be suspended the enforcement and recognition within and without Ecuador of the judgments” the Ecuadoran courts had issued against Chevron, pending the outcome of the arbitration.
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Case of the Day: West v. Rieth

ERMC Headquarters
European Regional Medical Center Headquarters. Credit: US Army

The case of the day is West v. Rieth (E.D. La. 2016). The decision doesn’t explain the nature of the case. The plaintiff, Luke T. West, sought leave under FRCP 4(f)(3) to serve process by alternate means on Peggy Cuevas, who, he claimed, was employed by the US Army Regional Health Command Europe in Germany. In particular, he suggested service via the U.S. Attorney’s Office, by certified mail to Cuevas’s employer, or by email.
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Case of the Day: Owens v. Sudan

Bombing of the US embassy in Kenya
The bombing of the US embassy in Kenya. Credit: FBI

The case of the day is Owens v. Republic of Sudan (D.D.C. 2015). James Owen and the other plaintiffs were victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa. Owens had a default judgment against the Republic of Sudan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the FSIA, a default judgment has to be sent to the foreign state using one of the FSIA methods of service before the plaintiff can execute on the judgment.1 The plaintiffs sought an order determining that a reasonable amount of time had passed and that they had properly given the required notice of the judgment.
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Case to Watch: Schermerhorn v. Israel

President Obama
The state of our Union is strong. Credit: CNN

At Opinio Juris, Julian Ku wrote about an interesting new action filed in Washington, Schermerhorn v. State of Israel (D.D.C.). The case arises out of the 2010 Gaza flotilla, in which several ships carrying self-described activists sought to challenge the Israeli (and Egyptian) blockade of Gaza. It turns out one of the ships, the Challenger I, was a US-flagged vessel. Gotcha! Well, maybe, as we’ll see. The nationality of the Challenger I is the jurisdictional hook several of the amateur blockade runners are seeking to use to sue Israel in the US courts for torture, other war crimes, arbitrary arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conversion.
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Puerto Rico Status in the Supreme Court

Reverse of Puerto Rico quarter

Puerto Rico has been in the news a lot recently on account of its debt crisis. But there’s another interesting issue percolating, and it will be argued in the Supreme Court shortly. Is Puerto Rico a sovereign separate from the United States, as the states of the United States are, such that a person acquitted of a crime in the Puerto Rico courts can be prosecuted for the same conduct in the federal courts? Or does Puerto Rico lack sovereignty, in which case a second prosecution is barred?
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