Case of the Day: Wright v. Old Gringo

The case of the day is Wright v. Old Gringo Inc. (S.D. Cal. 2018). The plaintiff wanted to serve process on the defendant in Mexico and brought a motion to appoint a particular “vendor” as “international process server.” “Plaintiff has diligently explored all service options,” the plaintiff’s motion intoned, “and determined that the only manner in which [Defendant] may be served in a valid manner is via extra-territorial service via the [Hague Convention].”

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Case of the Day: Dahman v. Embassy of Qatar

The case of the day is Dahman v. Embassy of the State of Qatar (D.D.C. 2018). El-Sayed Dahman, an Egyptian national who lived in Virginia, was employed by the Qatari Embassy as its chief accountant. When he turned 65, the Embassy discharged him. There was no question that his age was the reason for the discharge—both the Ambassador and the Director of Human Resources said so in writing. Qatar evidently had a policy of firing employees when they reached what it regarded as the retirement age. Dahman sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Qatar defaulted, and on a motion for default judgment, the court had to determine whether Qatar had foreign sovereign immunity.

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Authenticating Digital Evidence

surety.com ad with base64-encoded data

While reading the paper on Sunday I noticed an interesting ad. A company called Surety, LLC had published two base64-encoded  values. What is this? Is it the modern version of a coded “personals” ad from an Alan Furst novel, where it’s some spy’s job to read the ads every day and then to spring into action when the coded message finally appears? Is it some crank thing, like the ads for self-published physics books that appear in the book review?

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Case of the Day: R. ex rel. Freedom and Justice Party v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

The case of the day is R. ex rel. Freedom & Justice Party v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, [2018] EWCACiv 1719. I can’t do any better than the court did in stating the facts:

The appellants are former members of the Egyptian government. Egypt has neither signed nor ratified the [UN Convention on Special Missions]. They contended that a person whom we will refer to as Lt. General Hegazy had been responsible for torture in the course of events which led to the downfall of the government of which they were members. In 2015 the FCO accepted the visit of Lt. General Hegazy and other members of his delegation as a special mission. The appellants requested that he be arrested. FCO and Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) guidance stated that special mission members were immune from arrest. No action was taken against Lt. General Hegazy. He left the United Kingdom at the mission’s end.

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Case of the Day: Asiacell Communications v. Doe

The case of the day is Asiacell Communications PJSC v. Doe (N.D. Cal. 2018). Asiacell alleged that unknown defendants had put up its purloined trade secrets and customer information for sale on a website, www.CheckupIQ.com. At first, Asiacell negotiated with the website operators via email, but the website operators’ email accounts began refusing to accept emails, indicating that the email accounts no longer worked. The www.CheckupIQ.com website itself also stopped working. Asiacell then brought an action for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other statutes.

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The Jewish Nation State Bill Passes

The Knesset has passed the Jewish nation state bill after long debate. I wrote about an earlier iteration of the bill in 2014, and I am re-upping my post in light of the news. My basic view is the same as it was then: in light of the practices of neighboring states, there seems to be little reason to single out the Israeli bill for special criticism. Here is the prior post:

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Case of the Day: Grupo Unidos Por El Canal v. Autoridad del Canal de Panama

The case of the day is Grupo Unidos Por El Canal S.A. v. Autoridad del Canal de Panama (S.D. Fla. 2018). As you may have guessed, it’s a case about a construction project at the Panama Canal. The parties engaged in an ICC arbitration in Miami, which resulted in an award of damages of $22 million in favor of ACP. Grupo Unidos brought a petition to vacate the award, and ACP sought confirmation. ACP, an instrumentality of Panama, argued that the motion to vacate was barred because it was untimely under 9 U.S.C. § 12 and in light of ACP’s FSIA immunity.

The parties’ contract provided:

All written notifications and communications arising in the course of this arbitration shall be deemed to have been validly made to each Party where they have been transmitted to [ACP’s arbitration counsel].

All written communications of less than twenty pages shall be sent by email (eventually confirmed by fax or courier service) and all written communications of twenty or more pages, including formal submissions and all attachments, shall be sent by email and hand delivery/courier service.

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Impeach Trump

In late 2016, after the election, there was a movement seeking to persuade the electoral college to elect someone other than Mr. Trump president. I had already been arguing here for a long time that Donald Trump was unfit to be president and that he posed a danger to our country. It wasn’t just that he held bad views. He had no character. And we saw yesterday that, as Shakespeare’s Lorenzo says:

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.

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Case of the Day: EIG Energy Fund v. Petroleo Brasileiro

The case of the day is EIG Energy Fund XIV, LP v. Petroleo Brasileiro, S.A. (D.C. Cir. 2018). The case arose out of the Petrobras scandal in Brazil, in which Petrobras, the state oil company, allegedly defrauded EIG and other investors who sank millions into a major oil extraction project off the Brazilian coast, only to suffer losses when corruption in the Brazilian government and in Petrobras killed the project. The details of the alleged corruption aren’t important for our story. What’s important is that several EIG entities brought actions against Petrobras, and Petrobras asserted that it was immune from jurisdiction under the FSIA. The question was whether Petrobras’s commercial activity had caused a direct effect in the United States.

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Case of the Day: Kiobel v. Cravath, Swaine & Moore

The case of the day is Kiobel v. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (2d Cir. 2018). You’ll no doubt recall the name Kiobel from Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), the case in which the Supreme Court held that the ordinary presumption against extraterritorial application of US laws applies to cases under the Alien Tort Statute. After that decision, the plaintiff, Esther Kiobel, sought to bring an action against Shell in the Netherlands. There had been significant discovery in the US proceedings in New York that preceded the Supreme Court’s decision. Shell had produced documents, and depositions had been taken. The discovery material was subject to a protective order under which the documents Shell produced were to be used solely for purposes of the Kiobel case,1 and each party was to destroy or return the discovery material thirty days after the termination of the case.

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