Case of the Day: Luxottica Group v. Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations

The case of the day is Luxottica Group S.p.A. v. Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A (N.D. Ill. 2019). The case is in the “Chinese internet luxury goods knockoff” genre. The court had granted a temporary restraining order, which had authorized Luxottica to serve process by electronic means, namely, by email and by “electronically publishing a link to the Amended Complaint, this Order, and other relevant documents on a website to which the Defendant Domain Names which are transferred to the Plaintiff’s control will redirect.” The defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the service did not comply with the Hague Convention. They were obviously right if the Convention applied. But did it? (more…)

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Read more about the article Lago Agrio: Donziger Held In Contempt
On Memorial Day, Letters Blogatory remembers those who gave their lives for their country. Credit: Kathleen T. Rhem

Lago Agrio: Donziger Held In Contempt

On May 23, Steven Donziger, the American lawyer for the Lago Ario plaintiffs, was held in contempt of court in post-judgment proceedings in New York. Chevron first moved to hold Donziger in contempt in March 2018, and it has filed a series of motions since then. I have covered the contempt issues, though not exhaustively, in several posts, which you can find by browsing through this archive.

Judge Kaplan held that Donziger had failed to assign his entire interest in the Lago Agrio judgment to Chevron, that he had profited from the sale of interests in the Ecuadoran judgment, and that he had failed to comply with his discovery obligations by turning over his electronic devices. I am not going to review all the evidence in detail. Rather, I will just touch on a few points. (more…)

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Case of the Day: In re Subpoena Duces Tecum to Dunhuang Group

The case of the day is In re Subpoena Duces Tecum to Dunhuang Group (E.D. Mich. 2019). The facts of the underlying case are not really clear form the decision, but suffice it to say that North Atlantic Operating Co. had attempted to serve a subpoena duces tecum on Dunhuang Group, a Chinese company, and when Dunhuang did not produce the documents, it moved to compel and ultimately for contempt. The subpoena was served by delivery to the registered agent for Dunhuang Group’s payment processor, DHPay, Inc., and also by email to Dunhuang itself apparently in China. You can already see where this is going. (more…)

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Case of the Day: NOCO Co. v. Chang

The case of the day is NOCO Co. v. Chang (N.D. Ohio 2019). NOCO brought a claim against Liu Chang, who resided in China, alleging Chang sold knockoff products via Amazon. NOCO send a request for waiver of service of process to Chang’s address China but received no response, though someone signed for the letter. The address was the same address Chang had used to register US trademarks. NOCO then sought leave to serve process on Chang by alternate means, namely, by using Amazon’s messaging platform. The judge denied the motion. I love this case. (more…)

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Read more about the article Case of the Day: Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt
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Case of the Day: Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt

The case of the day is Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt (S. Ct. 2019). I think you might be interested even though it is a purely domestic case.

Gilbert Hyatt, an inventor who earned royalties from a patent on one of his inventions, moved from California to Nevada in 1991. California imposes an income tax on its residents; Nevada does not. The California Franchise Tax Board, which collects income tax in that state, suspected that Hyatt’s move was a sham meant to avoid taxation. It conducted an audit and determined that Hyatt did not really move to Nevada and owed millions of dollars in California tax. Hyatt’s appeal from the decision is still pending.

Hyatt sued the California Board in the Nevada state court, alleging torts during the audit. The Board sought a writ of mandamus from the Nevada Supreme Court, arguing that under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Nevada courts had to give effect to the California statute that gives the Board immunity from liability for injuries caused by its tax collection. The Nevada court disagreed, holding that the California tax authority was entitled only to the immunity that the Nevada tax authority would enjoy in the Nevada courts. The Supreme Court affirmed that decision. (more…)

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Case of the Day: McDonnel Group v. Great Lakes Insurance

The case of the day is McDonnel Group, LLC v. Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch (5th Cir. 2019). McDonnel purchased a builder’s risk policy from a group of insurers. When the insurers denied a claim, McDonnel sued. The insurers argued that the case had to be arbitrated, because the insurance policy contained an agreement to arbitrate. But the policy also had a provision stating: “In the event any terms of this Policy are in conflict with the statutes of the jurisdiction where the Insured Property is located, such terms are amended to conform to such statutes.” A Louisiana statute, § 22:868, forbade agreements to arbitrate in certain insurance contracts covering property in the state. Prior cases had already held that the New York Convention preempted the statute; but did it preempt the statute with such force that the “conformity clause” in the insurance agreement has no effect? (more…)

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Case of the Day: Maalouf v. Iran

The case of the day is Maalouf v. Iran (D.C. Cir. 2019). The cases arose out of the 1983 and 1984 bombings of US diplomatic missions in Beirut by Hizbullah and the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Al Qaeda. The Iranian government has been linked to all of the bombings, and the Sudanese government to the bombings in Africa. I wrote about one of the cases in the lower court, Kinyua v. Sudan, about a year ago, and about Maalouf itself in April 2018. (more…)

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Read more about the article Elephant Habeas: Happy’s Case Is Bound for the Bronx
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Elephant Habeas: Happy’s Case Is Bound for the Bronx

Springtime in the Bronx! The spring is sprung, / the grass is riz, / I wunna wheah the boidies is? The lawyers who purport to represent Happy the Elephant on a petition for a writ of habeas corpus have failed in their quest to have the case heard in remote Orleans County rather than in the Bronx. Never has so much time been spent litigating a question of venue for the “benefit” of an elephant. And rarely has forum shopping been so blatant. As I reported in December, Steven Wise, the lead lawyer, said that the reason he chose such an out-of-the-way venue was that “local courts aren’t amenable to his arguments.” In other words, the appellate court in the Bronx has already considered and rejected Wise’s arguments. Wise lost the venue argument, of course, and then sought reconsideration and also leave to appeal. (more…)

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Kuwait Airways Case: An Update From Germany

I’ve written a bunch about the Kuwait Airways litigation. The airline had refused to carry Israeli nationals. In the US case, which was an administrative proceeding before the Department of Transportation, the airline refused to carry an Israeli from New York to London. The airline shamefully dropped the route rather than obey an administrative order requiring it to comply with US antidiscrimination laws. In the UK case, the airline settled a case brought by an Israeli refused passage from London to Bangkok. And most recently, a German appellate court rejected a claim by an Israeli refused passage from Frankfurt to Bangkok via Kuwait City. (more…)

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