Belfast Project: UK Supreme Court to Hear McIntyre’s Appeal

The UK Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of Anthony McIntyre, the former IRA member and principal researcher for the Belfast Project, the oral history project gone wrong that I covered extensively over several years. I’m not going to review the history of the case here. I’ll just say that after the UK authorities made a request for tapes that, one speculates, include McIntyre’s confessions of participation in crimes during the Troubles, and after the United States obtained and produced the tapes, McIntyre sought relief in the UK courts. So far he has been unsuccessful, although the courts have so far kept the tapes under seal until appeals are exhausted. (more…)

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Read more about the article Historical Tidbit of the Day: Ostracism
Credit: Marsyas (CC BY-SA)

Historical Tidbit of the Day: Ostracism

In ancient Athens, the citizens would vote from time to time to exile particular citizens from the city for ten years. We know about the practice from Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, from Plutarch, and no doubt from other authors. The idea was that each year the citizens were asked whether they wanted to exile someone. If they voted yes, then a second vote was held, in which each citizen wrote the name of the citizen he wanted to be exiled on a shard of pottery. When the votes were tallied, the person whose name appeared the most was exiled for ten years. There was no trial, no right to make speeches in defense, and no question of guilt or innocence. The idea was to give the citizens a way to protect the polis from people considered to pose a danger or to be potential tyrants. They called the process “ostracism” (ostrakismos) because the voters wrote the names on ostraka, or shards of pottery. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Libyan Investment Authority v. JP Morgan

The case of the day is Libyan Investment Authority v. JP Morgan Markets Ltd., [2019] EWHC 1452 (Comm). The LIA sued JP Morgan, alleging that a 2007 trade had been procured by fraud. The LIA moved for leave to serve process on two of the defendants, Walid Mohamed Ali Al-Giahmi and Lands Company Ltd., out of the jurisdiction. The two defendants moved to set aside the service on the grounds that the actions were barred by the statute of limitations and that the LIA had been less than frank with the court when it sought leave, ex parte, to serve process out of the jurisdiction. The court granted the motion to set aside the service. (more…)

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Read more about the article The Judgments Convention: Let’s Do This!
Letters Blogatory wishes you a happy Bunker Hill Day!

The Judgments Convention: Let’s Do This!

    The Diplomatic Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law will meet beginning tomorrow, and the delegates are expected to adopt the Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil or commercial matters—the long-awaited Judgments Convention. The prospects for American ratification of the new Convention are uncertain. I think we all should do what we can to promote the Convention. Here’s why. (more…)

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Article of the Day: “Are We Alone In The Universe?”

If you’ve been reading Letters Blogatory for a while, you know that I am an enthusiast for astronomy and cosmology. I have often surprised people by saying that I hope we do not discover extraterrestrial life, especially simple extraterrestrial life. I get the same reaction I get when I tell people that it is illegal to use, possess, or sell marijuana anywhere in the United States. In this month’s Commentary, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel has an article that bears on my point even though he doesn’t draw the same conclusion. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Merlini v. Canada

The case of the day is Merlini v. Canada (1st Cir. 2019). Merlini, an American citizen, was a clerical worker at the Consulate General of Canada in Boston. In 2009, while setting up coffee and tea for a meeting, she tripped and fell over a cord that a fellow worker had failed to secure to the floor. She suffered a serious injury that, according to the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (more on that below), rendered her permanently unable to work. Simple case, right? The worker files a workers’ compensation claim and is paid the statutory benefits due to any worker injured on the job.

Not so simple, actually. The Government of Canada had not purchased workers’ compensation insurance in Massachusetts. It preferred to administer its own workers’ compensation system in Canada, and while it paid Merlini benefits under that system for a few months, it stopped payments in late 2009. Thus began Merlini’s long odyssey through the complexities of administrative tribunals and Massachusetts and federal courts—a journey that is not yet over despite her victory in today’s case. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Germaninvestments AG v. Allomet Corp.

The case of the day is Germaninvestments AG v. Allomet Corp. (Del. Ch. 2019). Allomet is a Delaware corporation in the business of manufacturing metal powders for coating industrial products. Fobio Enterprises, Ltd., a Hong Kong company, owned the majority of Allomet’s shares. In 2016, it became the sole owner by purchasing shares from the Estate of Richard Toth. Fobio’s beneficial owner was Hannjörg Hereth, a Swiss national.

Allomet was facing financial difficulties. In 2017, it had a debt of more than $40 million to Fobio and more than $20 million in net operating loss carryforwards. Hereth met with Richard Herrling, a German national residing in Switzerland, about the possibility of forming a joint venture to raise capital for Allomet. (Germaninvestments, one of the plaintiffs, was a Swiss company that managed the assets of Herrling and his family). The plan was to create an Austrian holding company that would own Allomet’s IP and also own the outstanding stock of Allomet and Yanchep LLC, a Delaware company owned by a relative of Hereth whose sole asset was the real property Allomet leased for its headquarters. There was discussion about whether Fobio would assign its claims against Allomet to the joint venture. During the negotiations, Herrling loaned Allomet $850,000 to keep it afloat. The parties entered into an agreement that provided for funding for Allomet while the parties worked out the joint venture. It provided that it was governed by Austrian law and that the “place of jurisdiction” was Vienna. The agreement provided that Herrling would own a 50% stake in the holding company that would own the shares of Allomet. Later, the parties organized the Austrian holding company, AHMR. They continued to negotiate the terms of the joint venture. But the negotiations broke down, and Herrling walked away from the deal. The question was whether Herrling had made loans to Allomet (Hereth’s preferred outcome), or whether he had made an equity investment (Herrling’s preferred view).

Herrling brought an action to compel Allomet to reissue its stock certificates in AHMR’s name under § 168 of the Delaware General Corporations Law. Hereth moved to dismiss, on the grounds that the case should be heard in Vienna per the parties’ agreement. Herrling denied that the agreement was a forum selection agreement and asserted that in an case it was unenforceable with respect to his Delaware law claims. (more…)

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I have a bunch of interesting cases to tell you about, but I wanted to take the chance today to tell you about a wonderful event yesterday here in Boston celebrating Jerusalem Day, which fell yesterday on our calendar. An Israeli group called Koolulam had an event for around 2,500 people at the House of Blues. Koolulam is “a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society.” It brings a lot of ordinary people together to learn Koolulam’s arrangement of a song, to sing it together, and to experience the happiness of making music.

We warmed up with an Israeli song most of the crowd knew, Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu, and we warmed down with another one, Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh.” But the main event was—wait for it—Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” (more…)

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