Case to Watch: Merlini v. Consulate General of Canada

Readers, here is an interesting case to watch: Merlini v. Consulate General of Canada. It’s an appeal from a decision of the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board. The Appeals Court will hear argument in the case in a week or so. Full disclosure: I am counsel to the appellant, Cynthia Merlini, though I didn’t represent her in the DIA proceedings that are on appeal.

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Case of the Day: Allianz Sigorta v. Ameritech

The case of the day is Allianz Sigorta, A.S. v. Ameritech Industries, Inc. (E.D. Cal. 2016). Allianz was a Turkish insurance company. Ameritech, through a subsidiary, was in the business of servicing aircraft engines. Ameritech serviced the engine on a plane that was sold to Korfez Hartalcilik Planlama Ltd. STI, which was Allianz’s insured. The engine failed when the plain was being flown from the United States to Turkey, and the pilot ditched the plane off the east coast of Canada. Allianz (as Korfez’s subrogee) sued, claiming that the engine failed because of Ameritech’s bad service and that Allianz had negligently misrepresented that the plane was airworthy. The damaged plane and engine were in the possession of Air Labrador at facility in Goose Bay, Newfoundland. Korfez refused, for reasons that are a little obscure to me, had refused to give permission to Air Labrador for Allianz to conduct an inspection of the engine. Allianz therefore requested issuance of a letter rogatory.

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Case of the Day: Katz, Nannis & Solomon v. Levine

The case of the day is Katz, Nannis & Solomon, P.C. v. Levine (Mass. 2016). The case involved a dispute among the shareholders of a small accounting firm formerly known as Levine, Katz, Nannis & Solomon, P.C. Katz, Nannis, and Solomon voted to require Levine to withdraw as a director and stockholder. Levine disputed their action, and the parties arbitrated the matter. Their agreement provided that it was “subject to and governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pertaining to agreements executed in and to be performed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” It also contained an agreement to arbitrate that read as follows:

In the event of any dispute concerning any aspect of this Agreement, the parties agree to submit the matter to binding arbitration before a single arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association.…The decision of the arbitrator shall be final; provided, however, solely in the event of a material, gross and flagrant error by the arbitrator, such decision shall be subject to review in court.… [T]he party against which final, adverse judgment is entered [shall be] responsible for (in addition to its own) the other party’s(ies’) costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.


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Case of the Day: Flaherty v. Royal Caribbean

The case of the day is Flaherty v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (S.D. Fla. 2016). Kevin Flaherty alleged that he was a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. While on a shore excursion hiking at Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, which he booked through Royal Caribbean, he slipped and fell, breaking his leg. The claim was that a tour guide, who was employed by the Jamaican government, instructed the hikers to hold hands on the hike. Even though the tour guide was a government employee, Flaherty claimed that the guide was Royal Caribbean’s apparent agent, and that it was therefore vicariously liable for the guide’s negligence. Royal Caribbean moved to dismiss the claim of vicarious liability for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted.

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Case of the Day: Albaniabeg Ambient v. Enel

The case of the day is Albaniabeg Ambient Sh.p.k. v. Enel S.p.A. (S.D.N.Y. 2016). BEG S.p.A., an Italian company, contracted with the government of Albania to build and operate a hydroelectric plant. BEG also had a contract with Enel S.p.A., another Italian firm, to study the feasibility of the project. Later, BEG had a similar contract with Enelpower S.p.A., an Enel subsidiary. The Enelpower contract had an agreement to arbitrate.

A dispute arose. BEG commenced an arbitration against Enelpower for breach of contract. The tribunal, seated in Rome, found that Enelpower was not liable to BEG. The Italian courts refused to vacate the award despite a claim that one of the arbitrators had a conflict of interest.

Later, Albaniabeg, a subsidiary of BEG, brought an action against Enel and Enelpower in the Albanian court. The claims were tort claims arising out of the hydroelectric project. The Albanian court entered a judgment for more than € 25 million against Enel and Enelpower, which was affirmed on appeal. The European Court of Human Rights rejected Enel and Enelpower’s challenge to the judgment.

Albaniabeg brought an action in the New York Supreme Court for recognition of the Albanian judgment. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Pablo Start Ltd. v. The Welsh Government

The case of the day is Pablo Start Ltd. v. The Welsh Government (S.D.N.Y. 2016). The Welsh government ran a ‘Visit Wales’ tourism campaign, which included photographs of the poet Dylan Thomas that, according to Pablo Start, were subject to copyright and used without permission. The judge explains that Dylan Thomas was “a Welsh-born poet who lived from 1914 to 1953” and who “is best known for his troubled and chaotic personal life and for penning the poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night.'” Okay, but why that poem? Why not “And death shall have no dominion,” or “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower”? Anyway, the claim was that the Welsh campaign had provided publishers, who were also defendants, with the photographs, which then were published in various media. Pablo Start sued Wales in New York.

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Merrick Garland on International Issues

Merrick Garland
Mazal tov, Judge Garland! Credit: The White House
Today the President nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to be a Justice of the Supreme Court. Tom Goldstein previously reviewed some of Judge Garland’s decisions, but his post dates from 2010, and anyway, it doesn’t focus on Letters Blogatory’s issues. So here is a brief overview of decisions that may give some insight into Judge Garland’s views on matters of importance to us. I’ve looked only at decisions that Judge Garland wrote and that would have been within the Letters Blogatory scope of coverage had they been written after the blog’s inception in 2011, not cases where he was on the panel but didn’t write the decision.

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Badawi v. Alesawy

The case of the day is Badawi v. Alesawy (N.Y. App. Div. 2016). This is the appeal of the case of the day from October 23, 2012. The parties were married civilly in New York in 1998, and they had an Islamic wedding ceremony thereafter. As part of the religious ceremony, they signed a mahr agreement that required the husband to make an advance payment to the wife of $5,000, with deferred payment of $250,000 in case of divorce. While living in Abu Dhabi, the wife obtained a divorce, custody of the children, and a judgment for the $250,000 payment due under the mahr. She then sought recognition and enforcement of the Abu Dhabi judgment in New York insofar as it related to the payment due under the mahr. The Supreme Court recognized the judgment, and the husband appealed.

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