Editorial: Russia and Wikileaks

Wikileaks logo

Countries spy on each other, as they should. It’s important to understand the politics of allies and adversaries, and the intentions of leading political figures. So while I don’t like the fact that, according to reports of the assessment of the US intelligence community, the Russian government is behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, I understand it. I hope we take similar steps to get an inside view of Russian political leaders. Jack Goldsmith made just that point today:

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Lago Agrio: Ecuador Pays Arbitral Award

Ecuadoran Flag

Reuters is reporting that Ecuador has paid Chevron the $96 million awarded in a treaty arbitration ($112 million with interest). I’ve written several posts about this award and its aftermath. You may want to review my post on the DC Circuit’s decision affirming confirmation of the award and my post on the Hoge Raad’s decision rejecting Ecuador’s challenge to the award.
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Read more about the article Boal v. United States: The Bergdahl Case, <em>Serial,</em> and the Belfast Project
Credit: US Army

Boal v. United States: The Bergdahl Case, Serial, and the Belfast Project

Season 2 of the excellent podcast, Serial, featured the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who walked away from his post in Afghanistan, was captured and held for about five years by the Taliban before being released in a prisoner exchange. He is to be tried by a general court martial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. For a good explanation of the case from military law experts, you may want to read CAAFLog’s coverage, and in particular, a recent article explaining some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Army’s charging decision.
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Case of the Day: PATS Aircraft,v. Vedder Munich

Boeing 737

The case of the day is PATS Aircraft, LLC v. Vedder Munich GmbH (D. Del. 2016). PATS had a contract with a customer for modification of a Boeing 737 jet. PATS subcontracted the interior work to Vedder’s predecessor in interest, Loher Raumexklusiv GmbH. The parties ended up in a contract dispute. Vedder brought a declaratory judgment action in Germany, while PATS brought an action for breach of contract and breach of warranty in Delaware. Vedder moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.
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Case of the Day: In re Application of Gazprom

Gazprom Latin America logo

The case of the day is In re Gazprom Latin America Servicios, CA (S.D. Tex. 2016). Gazprom Latin America, a Venezuela company, brought a § 1782 application seeking discovery from Jean-Marc Pivert. The court granted the application ex parte, and then moved to compel and for contempt. Privert then moved to vacate the original order.
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Case of the Day: Receivers of Sabena v. Deutsche Bank

Sudan Airways

The case of the day is Receivers of Sabena SA v. Deutsche Bank AG (N.Y. App. Div. 2016). Sabena, before it became insolvent, was Belgium’s national airline. It provided airplane maintenance services to Sudan Airways Ltd. In 1997, to pay for some services Sabena had provided for its planes, Sudan Airways initiated an electronic funds transfer for $360,000 with Sabena as the beneficiary. Sudan Airways’s bank was the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Generale Bank was Sabena’s bank. Bankers Trust, in New York, was the intermediary bank. Its successor-in-interest was Deutsche Bank.

To understand the case, you need to know a little about electronic funds transfers, which are governed by Article 4-A of the UCC (or more precisely in this case, New York’s enactment of the UCC). Here is a brief description that the court quoted in its opinion:
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Case of the Day: Microsoft v. United States

The case of the day is Microsoft Corp. v. United States (2d Cir. 2016). The government issued a subpoena to Microsoft under the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701 et seq. The subpoena sought the production of data that was stored on servers in Ireland. The holding of the case is that in these circumstances, the government had to proceed by request to the Irish government under the US/Ireland MLAT. A warrant under the SCA has no extraterritorial application.
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Case of the Day: Plastech Holding Corp. v. WM Greentech

The case of the day is Plastech Holding Corp. v. WM Greentech Automotive Corp. (E.D. Mich. 2016). PHC sued WM Industries Corp., GreenTech Automotive Corp., and GreenTech Automotive Inc. JAC Motors, a non-party, sought to intervene in the case, but PHC opposed its motion, because the contract between JAC and PHC had an agreement calling for arbitration in Hong Kong. The motion for leave to intervene was allowed, and PHC amended its complaint to state a claim against JAC. PHC then served notices for depositions of eleven JAC witnesses who resided in Taiwan. The notices called for the depositions to take place in Michigan.
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Case of the Day: Philippines v. China

Hugo Grotius John Selden

An arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea issued its long-awaited Award in the case the Philippines brought against China arising out of China’s claims in the South China Sea. I’m not a specialist in this area and so I’m not going to offer any detailed comment—you probably want to look to Julian Ku or others for that. Most experts predicted this was an easy win for the Philippines, and that’s how it turned out. The key point, it seems to me, was the tribunal’s decision that China’s maritime entitlements are defined by the Convention, and that even if China had some kind of “historic rights” (the nature and justification of which have never been made clear), they were extinguished when China acceded to the Convention. You can’t own the sea. There was more. Because some features claimed by China did not create exclusive economic zones, areas of the sea around those features were, according to the tribunal, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and China had wrongfully interfered with the Philippines’ activity within its EEZ. Some features claimed by China were low-tide elevations that did not even give rise to a twelve-mile territorial sea.
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