Case of the Day: MMA Consultants v. Peru

The case of the day is MMA Consultants 1, Inc. v. Republic of Peru (2d Cir. 2017). MMA claimed it was the holder of bearer bonds Peru issued in 1875. In 2015, it sent demand letters to the Peruvian embassy seeking payment, but it received no response. It sued for breach of contract. Peru moved to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, arguing that it was immune from suit under the FSIA. The district court agreed, and MMA appealed.

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Case of the Day: United States v. Hayat

The case of the day is United States v. Hayat (E.D. Cal. 2017). In 2005, the government indicted Hamid Hayat for providing material support to terrorists and lying to the FBI. A jury found him guilty. He was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment in 2013, and Hayat brought a collateral attack on his sentence, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The claim was that Hayat’s trial lawyer failed to investigate alibi witnesses.

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Case of the Day: Sahyouni v. Mamisch

The case of the day is Sahyouni v. Mamisch (ECJ 2017). I previewed the case in September. Here was my description:

The husband and the wife, both Syrian nationals by birth, were married in an Islamic court in Homs, Syria in 1999. They moved to Germany, and both were German citizens. In 2013, the husband divorced the wife by making the appropriate declaration in the Islamic court in Latakia, Syria, and the court approved the divorce. Shortly thereafter, the wife signed a document acknowledging she had received the amount due to her under the Islamic marriage contract and releasing the husband from further obligation. The husband then sought recognition of the judgment in Germany. The Oberlandesgericht München recognized the divorce and denied the wife’s request to set the decision aside. The wife appealed, and the court referred questions to the EU Court of Justice about the interpretation of Regulation 1259/2010, the Rome III regulation.


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Jerusalem Two Weeks On: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Almost two weeks ago, the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At the time, I applauded the move in principle though I expressed prudential concerns about the potential for a violent reaction. I had the strange experience of applauding President Trump’s speech, which plainly was written by people who knew their stuff and which—if people bothered to read it—was much more nuanced than press reports indicated. In summary, the President said that the United States was recognizing the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but was not making any assertions about the borders of Jerusalem. He called for maintenance of the status quo at the Temple Mount, and he referred to the holy site by its Arabic name, the Haram al-Sharif. So despite all the over-the-top press, it seemed to me that the change in the US position should only really be concerning to people who feel strongly that the original idea of the 1947 partition plan, which would have treated all of Jerusalem (east and west) and its environs as a corpus separatum not subject to any state’s sovereignty. There might be such people, but none of the parties themselves take this view, which seems to me an anachronism. If that’s not your view, I didn’t see how it was reasonable to oppose what the President said, unless you think that Israel has no claim to West Jerusalem, the portion of the city to the west of the Green Line (the border after the war that ensued when the Arab states rejected the partition plan and invaded what was to become the State of Israel).

Today, I want to look at what’s happened regarding Jerusalem since: the good, the bad, and the ugly.


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Case of the Day: AIG v. Permanent Mission of Myanmar

The case of the day is AIG Property & Casualty Co. v. Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2017). Gregory Callimanopulos owned a building abutting Myanmar’s mission to the UN. He claimed that his property suffered water damage after the mission negligently failed to maintain its plumbing. His insurer, AIG, paid a claim and then sued the mission as subrogee. AIG served process on the mission “by leaving a true copy with Rose Aikiraz, being authorized to accept legal papers stated.” Oops!

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Case to Watch: Molla Sali v. Greece

Longtime readers will know I am interested in the interplay between religious law and civil law. A good example was just argued in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The facts of Molla Sali v. Greece are these. Mr. Molla Sali, a Muslim Greek national, left his entire estate to his wife in his will, which was drawn up by a notary in accordance with Greek civil law. His two sisters contested the will on the grounds that he was a member of the Muslim community in Thrace, and thus that Islamic law rather than Greek civil law governed inheritance in his case. And in fact in the Treaty of Lausanne, Greece agreed to “take, as regards [religious] minorities, in so far as concerns their family law or personal status, measures permitting the settlement of these questions in accordance with the customs of those minorities.”

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Case of the Day: Vitro Packaging v. Dubiel

The case of the day is Vitro Packaging de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. v. Dubiel (Tex. App. 2017). John Dubiel Jr. sued Vitro Mexico, alleging that he was "injured in a grocery store when soft drink bottles exploded and glass shards hit his eye." He served process in Vitro, a Mexican firm, by serving the summons on Kevin Jackson, alleged to be Vitro's registered agent, in Plano, Texas. Vitro filed a special appearance to argue that it was not subject to the court's jurisdiction. It argued that the service was not in accordance with the Hague Service Convention, and that the Convention "preempted Texas laws and rules and provided the exclusive means for service of process." It's not the main point of this post, but it's worth noting that Vitro's argument was that the Convention is mandatory. But under Volkswagen, we know that that's just wrong: the law of the forum, not the Convention, determines when there is occasion to transmit a judicial document abroad for service.

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Case of the Day: Trzaska v. L’Oréal

The case of the day is Trzaska v. L’Oréal USA, Inc. (D.N.J. 2017). Steven Trzaska, a lawyer, was the head of patents for L’Oréal USA, a subsidiary of L’Oréal S.A., a French company. After his employment was terminated, he sued for wrongful discharge. Trzaska served process on L’Oréal S.A. by mail to L’Oréal’s CEO in Paris. L’Oréal moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.

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Belfast Project: Northern Irish Court May Return McIntyre Interviews To US Unread

The Irish News has reported that the High Court has given the government two weeks to show cause why tapes concerning Anthony McIntyre’s involvement in the Troubles shouldn’t be returned to the United States without having been turned over to the PSNI. I reported on the UK’s MLAT request and the subpoena back in April 2016.

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Case of the Day: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group v. Bebidas Purificadas de Tehuacan

The case of the day is Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. v. Bebidas Purificadas de Tehuacan, S.A. de C.V. (N.D. Tex. 2017). It’s another example that proves the point I’ve tried to make several times now about putting misplaced trust in “vendors” who claim to have the secret to the deeply mystical and problematic art of service of process abroad but who, in decision after decision, don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Today’s case is a trade dress infringement and unfair competition claim brought by an American soft drink company against a Mexican firm. It’s the kind of case where there could well be a need for as much speed as possible in serving process.

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