Some Good Legal Ads

Readers, you may be wondering, “where as Letters Blogatory gone? Why have there been so few posts recently?” It’s just a combination of a very busy travel schedule recently and several big deadlines in my cases that all hit at the same time. Don’t worry! I will be back with new cases of the day and other posts soon, probably after January 1. In the meantime, here is the latest in my occasional series of favorite legal ads, this time from Los Angeles. Florida is still the undisputed king of lawyer billboards in my view, but there are some pretty good ones here. (more…)

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Reflection on the UK Election

There are many things to say about the UK election last week, and so far commentators have said many of the smart and insightful things and some of the out-of-left-field things. I want to comment on some key differences between the personalities in the UK’s 2019 election and in the upcoming US 2020 election. This cuts against the general grain of the commentary, I think, by suggesting that there are important differences as well as important similarities in play. (more…)

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HCCH a|Bridged: A Short Recap

I had the good fortune to attend the Hague Conference’s HCCH a|Bridged event yesterday. It was an interesting time to be at the Peace Palace, as the supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi were protesting outside. Lots of protests and public interest in what was going on in the Peace Palace, the public blissfully ignorant of what was going on right next door in the Academy Building. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Broidy Capital Management v. Benomar

Today’s case of the day, Broidy Capital Management LLC v. Benomar (2d Cir. 2019), is at the intersection of cloak-and-dagger intrigue, international law, and the Trump era. Elliott Broidy was the deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee. He alleged that the State of Qatar and its agents had hacked his computers, stolen trade secrets and personal information, and passed it to the media. Qatar’s motive, according to Broidy, was to “discredit Broidy and curtail his influence,” because he was “an influential detractor responsible for President Trump’s public criticism of Qatar in June 2017.” Broidy sued Jamal Benomar in the Southern District of New York, alleging that he was a “secret Qatari agent,” and that he “had been paid by Qatar to participate in the alleged Qatari hacking scheme.” Benomar, a Moroccan national, had been a United Nations official until July 1, 2017, and he had served as a diplomat in Morocco’s mission to the United Nations since November 1, 2017. But Morocco did not seek US accreditation until mid-2018. After Broidy filed his lawsuit, the United States did accredit Benomar as a diplomat, but Broidy asserted the suit could proceed anyway, because it arose out of Benomar’s commercial or professional activity, namely, “reviewing and organizing the hacked materials and planning their dissemination to the media.” The District Court dismissed the action, and Broidy appealed. (more…)

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Introductory Note to U.S. v. Assa Co.

The American Society of International Law was kind enough to ask me to write an introductory note about United States v. Assa Co., a case I covered here in August and that Bill Dodge and Ingrid Wuerth criticized in a paper that I covered later that month and that I cite in the note. I’m reprinting the introductory note, which has been accepted for publication in ASIL’s International Legal Materials for 2020. One technical note: because ASIL owns the copyright, this post is “all rights reserved,” and my ordinary Creative Commons license does not apply.

Introduction

On August 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided United States v. Assa Co.1 The decision is significant for its holding that a civil forfeiture action in rem concerning property of a foreign state or its instrumentality is not an action against the foreign state or instrumentality for purposes of the jurisdictional and immunity provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).2 (more…)

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Case of the Day: AlixPartners v. Mori

The case of the day is AlixPartners LLP v. Mori (Del. Ch. 2019). AlixPartners was a “global business advisory firm.” Giacomo Mori was its managing director in Milan. During his employment, Mori received equity interests in two Delaware entities, AlixPartners, LLP and AlixPartners Holdings, LLP. The equity awards were governed by agreements that had Delaware choice of law and choice of forum clauses. He was an employee of AlixPartners S.r.l., an Italian firm, and his employment agreement had an Italian choice of law clause—but no choice of forum clause. All three of the Alix entities were plaintiffs. They alleged that Mori knew he was about to lose his job and that he downloaded confidential company information and refused to return it. They brought claims for breach of a duty of confidentiality, for breach of contract, for trade secret misappropriation, etc., in Delaware. Mori moved to dismiss, arguing that the claim had to be brought in Italy and that the Chancery Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. (more…)

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