Case of the Day: Kazakhstan v. Lawler

The case of the day is Republic of Kazakhstan v. Lawler (D. Ariz. 2020). Big Sky Energy Corp. commenced an arbitration against Kazakhstan before ICSID, asserting a claim under the US/Kazakhstan bilateral investment treaty. The treaty does not provide protection to “any company that is controlled by non-U.S. nationals if that company does not conduct substantial business activities in the United States.” Kazakhstan sought and received leave under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to serve a subpoena on William Lawler, Blue Sky’s principal, in order to obtain evidence to assert the jurisdictional defense. Shortly after the subpoena was served, Big Sky produced, in the context of discovery in the arbitration, the documents the subpoena had sought. Lawler then moved to quash the subpoena. (more…)

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Royal Scandal of the Day: Can Prince Andrew Be Required To Testify?

Back in 2015 I wrote about some unserious attempts by lawyers for an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein to get testimony or a statement from Prince Andrew. I commented on the haplessness of the strategy of sending requests to Buckingham Palace and the awesomeness of the letterhead of the alleged victims’ lawyers. Later, I commented on a silly follow-up attempt to send official letters to the British Embassy. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Bodyguard Productions v. Musante

The case of the day is Bodyguard Productions, Inc. v. Musante (D. Hawaii 2020). Bodyguard owned the copyright for a movie called The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It alleged that Alex Musante had infringed the copyright. The claim was that Musante had streamed the movie using a BitTorrent client. In an amended complaint, filed apparently after having secured Musante’s cooperation, Bodyguard alleged that several unknown defendants had induced the infringement by making a BitTorrent client called Popcorn Time available on their websites. It moved for leave to transmit letters of requests to the central authorities in the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, and Iceland directed at several internet companies and apparently aimed at uncovering the identity of the registrant of the domain names used by the infringers or of the operators of the servers associated with the relevant IP addresses. The judge denied the request on the grounds that Bodyguard had not sufficiently shown that the Doe defendants were persons who were subject to suit or that they were subject to personal jurisdiction in Hawaii. (more…)

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A Tale of Two Judges

On January 20, Mohammed Hossein brought an action and a petition for a writ habeas corpus in the District Court in Boston seeking relief from imminent removal. He was a young Iranian national studying for a bachelor’s degree at Northeastern University. When he arrived at Logan Airport, the CBP officer revoked his student visa and issued an expedited removal order. The same day, the magistrate judge, acting on the habeas petition, issued a temporary restraining order and an order requiring CBP to bring Hossein to court the next day. This, by the way, is extremely orthodox in the world of habeas corpus, where the writ requires the custodian to have the prisoner in court, although it does not seem from the docket that the magistrate judge actually issued the writ. Anyway, on the day of the hearing, the government reported that Hossein had been removed. News reports say that he was removed after the order had issued, though the timing of the magistrate judge’s order is unclear from the publicly available docket and it is unclear when the defendants (the government and certain officials) were put on notice of the order. Judge Stearns dismissed the case as moot, reportedly saying, “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me.” (more…)

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Case of the Day: Windecker v. Hang

The case of the day is Windecker v. Hang Wei (W.D. Tex. 2020). Windecker sued Hang Wei, a Chinese national, and served him with process by leaving the documents at a home owned by him and his wife in North Carolina. Hang argued that Windecker should have served process on him via the Hague Service Convention. (more…)

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Read more about the article Case of the Day: Republic Technologies v. BBK Tobacco
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Case of the Day: Republic Technologies v. BBK Tobacco

The case of the day is Republic Technologies (NA), LLC v. BBK Tobacco & Foods, LLP (N.D. Ill. 2020). The case was “a trademark battle over the packaging and advertising for organic hemp cigarette rolling papers.” It’s pretty common in intellectual property cases to have parallel proceedings pending in the United States and elsewhere, and that was so here: there was a parallel case in Germany. The defendant, HBI, brought a § 1782 application as a motion in the US case rather than as a stand-alone application. It sought discovery of material that had already been produced in the US discovery but that was subject to a protective order and could not, therefore, be used in the German case. (more…)

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Lago Agrio Update

I have not been writing about the remnants of the Lago Agrio case. Mostly that’s because the issues that got me interested in the case in the first place—the judgment recognition issues and the § 1782 issues—are over and done, but it’s also because I am sad about how things turned out for Steven Donziger and it’s not so much fun to write about anymore. But readers keep asking, so here for your prurient enjoyment is what is happening in the Lago Agrio case in early 2020. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Davis v. Zhou

The case of the day is Davis v. Zhou (9th Cir. 2019). I covered the case in November 2018. Zhou Liang, a Chinese national, was driving a rental car in Seattle when he collided with a city bus, injuring Michael Davis. He returned to China. Davis sued Zhou in the District Court three days before the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations. He waited 119 days and then transmitted a request for service to the Chinese central authority under the Service Convention. (Recall that FRCP 4(m), which on its face applies only to service within the United States, gives the plaintiff ninety days to effect service; formerly it gave 120 days, which may account for the plaintiff’s attempt on day 119 rather than, say, day 121). (more…)

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Brownbag Lunch of the Day: Foreign Sovereign Immunity and Locally Employed Staff: the Massachusetts Example

Readers, if you are in Boston on January 27 at noon , come to the Boston Bar Association for a presentation I'm giving with Alan Pierce titled Foreign Sovereign Immunity…

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