Case of the Day: Companion Property & Casualty v. US Bank

The case of the day is Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. US Bank N.A. (D.S.C. 2016). The document the court issued and that I’m highlighting today isn’t a decision: it’s a request for service under the Hague Service Convention directed to the Cayman Islands central authority.

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Jodat Law Group

When I’m traveling I like to take photos of great lawyer advertisements. Here’s one of my all-time favorites, from Bradenton, Florida. It’s for the Jodat Law Group, which apparently practices in the areas of automobile accidents and divorce. “Who’s that,” you ask? “Jodat!”

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Case of the Day: Jiangsu Hongyuan Pharmaceutical Co. v. DI Global Logistics

The case of the day is Jiangsu Hongyuan Pharmaceutical Co. v. DI Global Logistics Inc. (S.D. Fla. 2016). Hongyuan was a Chinese firm; DI was a Florida corporation. The parties had a contract under which DI was Hongyuan’s exclusive distributor for chemical products in Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States. The parties had a dispute about an invoice Hongyuan sent DI for a shipment of titanium dioxide anatase. Hongyuan sued in the District Court, but DI moved to dismiss for forum non conveniens, pointing to the following article of the contract:

This agreement shall only be governed by Chinese law. In the event of any disputes between the parties the People’s Court of Jiangsu (China) shall be empowered to take cognizance of it, unless coercive law prescribes another court.


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Case of the Day: ATN Industries v. Gross

The case of the day is ATN Industries, Inc. v. Gross (S.D. Tex. 2016). ATN alleged that Rafael Schwartz and others wer part of a “massive scheme that defrauded Plaintiffs out of millions of dollars.” It sued him for violations of the RICO statute and on other claims. Schwartz was in Venezuela. ATN sent the documents to an “international process-server to serve Schwartz pursuant to the Hague Convention.” Schwartz was served in August 2015 in Caracas, but according to the plaintiffs, “Schwartz refused to sign the summons.” Apparently under Venezualan law, because Schwartz refused to sign, it was necessary to take steps to confirm that service had been made. The plaintiffs petitioned the Venezuelan court for an order “ratifying” that service had been made. The Venezuelan court obliged, and ATN gave the papers to the Venezuelan central authority, but the central authority never transmitted a certificate of service under Article 6. Schwartz moved to dismiss, asserting insufficient service of process.

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COCA Update

Readers, if you missed the Georgetown International Arbitration Week event on the effect of the Choice of Court Agreement Convention on international arbitration yesterday, you missed a pretty good discussion. Marta Pertegás started us off with an overview of the history of COCA and of the Hague Conference more generally, and she showed us a map of states, including significant states such as China, Australia, and Canada, that were at various stages of considering signing the Convention. Chuck Kotuby and I both discussed the reasons why US ratification and implementation is so important. David Stewart and Peter Trooboff presented the two approaches to implementation in the US— the cooperative federalism approach and the federal-only approach.

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Doug Cassel on the Letter to the Special Rapporteur

Doug Cassel reponds to Aaron Marr Page’s post on the letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

Aaron Marr Page is right that human rights defenders are endangered, but wrong to try to wrap Steven Donziger in the protective blanket of their moral credibility. Donziger does not remotely merit the support of the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders.

Attacks and threats against human rights defenders do pose an enormous challenge. The UN Human Rights Council so recognized 15 years ago by establishing the position of the special rapporteur. Even so, in the Americas at least, defenders remain at risk. After reporting on the dangers for decades, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2011 established its own rapporteur on human rights defenders. Here in Mexico, where I am doing human rights research this semester, the Commission recently declared a “human rights crisis.” It warned that the “effect of the violence and fundamental rights violations is especially serious and disproportionate” to human rights defenders.

So we should all have common ground on the urgent need to defend the defenders. Day after day, they risk their lives, limbs and livelihoods to assert the rights of the most vulnerable populations.

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