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Leonardo's Salvator Mundi. Credit: Wikipedia

Case of the Day: In re Accent Delight

The case of the day is In re Accent Delight International (2d Cir. 2017). Accent Delight and Xitrans Finance Ltd. were BVI companies owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev’s family trusts. Rybolovlev was a Russian national who resided in Monaco. Yves Bouvier was a Swiss national who dealt in fine art through MEI Invest Ltd., a Hong Kong company he controlled. Bouvier brokered Rybolovlev’s purchase of $2 billion in artworks, including paintings by Picasso and van Gogh. In 2014, the New York Times reported that Sotheby’s had sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Christ as Salvator Mundi for $75 or $80 million in 2013, which was allegedly a surprise to Rybolovlev, who claimed he had purchased the painting through Bouvier the same month for $127.5 million!

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The Arpaio Pardon

I’ve read a lot in the news recently about the President’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt of court. Much of the commentary seems off-base to me, though I share the view of many that the pardon was unjustified. Here, for what it’s worth, is how I see it.

Did The President Have The Power To Pardon Arpaio?

Yes. The Constitution provides that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” In Ex Parte Garland, 71 U.S. 333 (1867), the Supreme Court described the pardon power thus:

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Updated Hague Conference Status Tables

In November 2016 I noted the Conclusions and Recommendations of the 2016 Special Commission on the operation of the Apostille Convention, which pointed out the possibility of improving the status tables on the Hague Conference website. At the time, the status tables, at least for the Service, Evidence, and Apostille Conventions, did not show a complete alphabetical list of the states party to the Conventions. Instead, they showed one list that included those states that were Hague Conference members, and another list that included those states that were parties to the Convention but not members of the Hague Conference. This created possibilities for confusion.

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Case of the Day: Lee v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia

The case of the day is Lee v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (W.D. Wash. 2017). ICBC is owned by the British Columbia government, and it provides universal automobile insurance in British Columbia. It insured Mi Joo Tour and Travel Ltd., which operated tour buses. Lee was a passenger on a tour that began and ended in Washington.

The bus was involved in a serious crash. Lee brought a claim against Mi Joo in arbitration, and the case settled. ICBC was involved in the negotiations and paid Lee $10 million (Lee was an additional insured under the ICBC policy). Lee then sued ICBC for breach of contract, tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and anticipated breach of the Washington Insurance Fair Conduct Act. ICBC moved to dismiss under the FSIA.

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Case of the Day: RCC Ventures v. Brandtone Holdings

The case of the day is RCC Ventures, LLC v. Brandtone Holdings, Ltd. (S.D.N.Y. 2017). RCC was in the business of introducing businesses to institutional lenders. Brandtone was an Irish firm with its offices in Dublin. RCC had a claim against Brandtone for money it claimed was due under an exclusive debt financing agreement.

Brandtone sued in New York. It served process on Brandtone, Inc., which it said was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brandtone, via the New York Secretary of State. Then RCC sought a default judgment.

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Case of the Day: Marks Law Offices v. Mireskandari

The case of the day is Marks Law Offices LLC v. Mireskandari (3d Cir. 2017). The defendants, Shahrokh Mireskandari and Paul Baxendale-Walker, had hired Bruce Marks to represent them in a RICO case. Based on a decision from California, it seems that Mireskandari and Baxendale-Walker were two English solicitors who had been “struck off,” as they call suspension or disbarment over there, and that they decamped to the United States to attack the English bar disciplinary proceedings. Marks sued them for allegedly unpaid legal fees.

Marks sued Mireskandari and Baxendale-Walker in the federal court in Philadelphia, and he ultimately obtained a default judgment for nearly $230,000. The defendants moved to set aside the judgment on the grounds that it was void for insufficient service of process. The district court denied the motion, and the defendants appealed.

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Nazis, Service of Process, and Free Speech

I was looking for an angle to write about the national situation, and then I read about a harassment lawsuit against Andrew Anglin, the publisher of a Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, where the Nazi was ducking service of process.

Mr. Anglin’s lawyer, Marc Randazza, said that the editor should be easy to find and that no one had looked hard enough. Mr. Anglin has written on The Daily Stormer that he is in Nigeria.

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Case of the Day: In re MTS Bank

The case of the day is In re MTS Bank (S.D. Fla. 2017). MTS was a creditor of Transaero, a Russian firm that was subject to bankruptcy proceedings in Saint Petersburg, Russia. MTS’s investigation suggested that Transaero had defrauded creditors.

Alexander Krinichanskiy was a former Transaero executive. He owned real property in Florida and had a car registered there, and he had a Florida telephone number. MTS brought a 1782 application in aid of the Russian proceedings seeking to serve a subpoena on Krinichanskiy, who moved to quash. There were several issues, but the only one I want to consider is whether Krinichanskiy was “found” in Florida, as the statute requires.
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Case of the Day: Kozma Investmentos v. Duda

The case of the day is Kozma Investmentos, Ltda. v. Duda (M.D. Fla. 2017). Kozma had a $14 million Brazilian arbitral award against Edson and Natalina Duda. It brought an action in the Florida state court against the Dudas and Geby Investments, LLC alleging that the Dudas had made fraudulent transfers to Geby to the detriment of Kozma, the creditor. The defendants removed the case to the District Court, and Kozma moved to remand. The defendants’ argument was that the award hadn’t been confirmed, and that Kozma was “essentially seeking to enforce an unconfirmed arbitration award that was entered in Brazil by setting aside as fraudulent the Dudases’ conveyance to Geby of certain real property located in Collier County, Florida in order to avoid its creditors.” Kozma’s argument was that under Brazilian law (specifically, Article 31 of the Brazilian Arbitration Act), the award had the status of a court judgment, and that it was therefore entitled to enforcement in Florida as a foreign judgment. Thus, it argued, the case did not arise under the New York Convention.
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The Thought Experiment

I would like to share my own second reaction to what happened in Charlottesville and then yesterday in New York. My first reaction was anger. My second reaction is not just a reaction but a prescription. I’d go so far as to say I’m going to offer words of wisdom. I can say they’re words of wisdom because they’re not based on any original idea of mine, but instead on an idea that I learned a long time ago. I’m not going to provide the pedigree of the idea or name-drop some of the authors whose books introduced me to it.
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