William Dodge and Ingrid Wuerth on the Assa Case

William S. Dodge and Ingrid Wuerth have published a post at Just Security on United States v. Assa Co., a Second Circuit FSIA case I noted recently. Assa is the case holding that the FSIA does not forbid a court from exercising jurisdiction in rem over property of a foreign sovereign in a civil forfeiture case. (more…)

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Space Opera of the Day: The Anne McClain Case

The New York Times reported last week that Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, suspected that her spouse—they were going through a divorce—was accessing her online bank account. She looked into it and discovered that the account had been accessed by someone using a computer whose IP address belonged to NASA. And since Worden’s spouse was Anne McClain, an astronaut on a six-month mission on the International Space Station … (more…)

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Blockchain for Central Authorities?

Burcu Yüksel and Florian Heindler have published a post on “Use of Blockchain Technology in Cross-Border Legal Cooperation under the Conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).” Jan Von Hein reviewed it at Conflict of Laws, and I’m going to review it here. I have a feeling that my post today will be read more than the usual Letters Blogatory post because it has the word “blockchain” in it. #Blockchain. Block. Chain. (more…)

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Case of the Day: DeJoria v. Maghreb Petroleum Exploration

The case of the day is DeJoria v. Maghreb Petroleum Exploration S.A. (5th Cir. 2019). I covered a prior Fifth Circuit decision back in 2015, and an even earlier district court decision in 2014. John Paul DeJoria,the billionaire behind the Paul Mitchell hair care line, went into the oil exploration business, hoping to discover reserves in Morocco. The Moroccan government supported the project. But when his venture failed to find the hoped-for reserves, he had to flee the company. Eventually he was sued by the new management of the venture, Maghreb Petroleum Exploration, sued DeJoria in Morocco and obtained a judgment for more than $100 million. Maghreb came to Texas to seek recognition and enforcement. (more…)

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Massachusetts Adopts the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act

Massachusetts has taken a significant step towards modernizing its law of judgment recognition by adopting the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. The UEFJA is the uniform law that governs the recognition of sister-state judgments, not foreign country judgments. Until this year, Massachusetts was one of a very few states that still required judgment creditors to bring an action on a judgment in order to enforce the judgment in Massachusetts, even when the judgment was entitled to full faith and credit. Under the new statute, sister-state judgments can simply be registered, and after registration, they are treated just as domestic judgments (with all the usual procedures for seeking to set aside judgments or to stay judgments pending appeal). (more…)

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Everything About The Tlaib/Omar Story Is Terrible

Everything about the story of Representatives Omar and Tlaib’s aborted visit to Israel is terrible. No one in the whole affair has acted well. And the political motive for the whole fiasco—Donald Trump’s attempt to drive American Jews into the arms of the Republican Party—is so venal, so transparent, and, I hope, so doomed to failure that it makes me despair. (more…)

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Hong Kong

Our head of state embodies the character of the nation. So it is fair to say the state of the American character today is not strong. And it is unfortunate that the world and its problems will not wait for our national character to improve. (more…)

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Case of the Day: United States v. Assa Co.

The case of the day is United States v. Assa Co. Ltd. (2d Cir. 2019). This is one of several Iran-related FSIA decisions the Second Circuit issued last week. In Assa, the facts were these: Assa Corp. was a New York corporation formed in 1989. Its parent company is Assa Co., Ltd., a Jersey company. The Jersey parent was, in turn, owned by Harter Holdings Ltd., which Bank Melli, an Iranian state-owned bank, purchased in 1993. In 1995, the bank transferred Harter to Davood Shakeri and Fatemeh Aghamiri, but there was a dispute whether the bank continued to control Harter, and thus Assa, after the imposition of sanctions against Iran in 1995.

In 2008, the government brought a civil forfeiture action, seeking forfeiture of all of the interest of Assa and of the Bank in 650 Fifth Avenue Co., which owned the skyscraper at 650 Fifth Ave. in midtown Manhattan. There were several questions in the case, but I will focus on just one: in a civil forfeiture case, where the property is owned by a foreign state or an instrumentality of a foreign state, does the government need to show that jurisdiction exists under the FSIA? (more…)

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Singapore Convention Signed

In December 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, or the Singapore Convention. The Convention was open for signature on August 7, and Adeline Chong reports that forty-seven states, including the United States, have signed. Let me pause and express surprise and happiness that the United States has, in this era, signed any multilateral agreement on cooperation. Perhaps this flew under the radar of the political appointees. China, India, and of course Singapore, among others, have also signed. (more…)

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Read more about the article Case of the Day: Doğan v. Barak
The Mavi Mamara, another ship in the flotilla. Credit: Adambro (CC BY-SA)

Case of the Day: Doğan v. Barak

The case of the day is Doğan v. Barak (9th Cir. 2019). I wrote about the district court decision in 2016, and I have also written about another case in the “Gaza flotilla lawfare” genre, Schermerhorn v. Israel, three times (when it was filed, at the district court, and in the DC Circuit). Ahmet and Himet Doğan, both Turkish nationals, were the parents of Furkan Doğan, a US citizen who took part in the Gaza flotilla’s attempt to run the blockade of Gaza and who was killed in the fighting that occurred when the IDF boarded the flotilla vessels after they refused to turn back. They sued Ehud Barak, then Israel’s Minister of Defense, under the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Barak moved to dismiss, supported by the United States, which filed a suggestion of immunity. The District Court dismissed and the Doğans appealed. (more…)

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