Letters Blogatory

The Blog of International Judicial Assistance

Letters Blogatory

The Blog of International Judicial Assistance

Case of the Day: Berg v. Ciampa

The case of the day is Berg v. Ciampa (D. Mass. 2022). I wrote about the case in January 2022. According to the complaint, Oscar and Mary Nelson established an inter vivid trust for the benefit of their daughters, Mary Ann Birmingham and Elaine Ciampa. When Birmingham died, her daughters, Deborah Berg and Karen Bedenbaugh, each became beneficiaries of the trust. At the death of the Nelsons, Ciampa became trustee and, Berg and Bedenbaugh alleged, she began converting trust funds to her own use. Berg and Bedenbaugh sued Ciampa in a Florida state court and won a judgment of almost

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Lago Agrio: Steven Donziger Seeks Supreme Court Review

Steven Donziger has filed a petition seeking Supreme Court review of the Second Circuit decision affirming his conviction for criminal contempt of court. The petition is very well-done, and Donziger is in good hands with Stephen Vladeck. There is no question in the petition about Donziger’s factual guilt. Instead, the question is the constitutionality of Rule 42 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which requires the court to appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute cases of criminal contempt when the government, for whatever reason, declines to prosecute. This is a super-interesting issue that the Court might want to pursue,

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Elephant Habeas: NhRP Loses Again On Venue

Never have I ever seen someone as devoted to a pointless and overly simplistic kind of forum shopping as Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project. A few months ago, Mr. Wise’s organization brought a habeas corpus petition, supposedly on behalf of elephants kept at the Fresno Zoo. The NhRP didn’t bring the case in Fresno, but instead in San Francisco. Whereas the NhRP’s earlier forum shopping, in New York, was at least supported by the desire to avoid an unfavorable local precedent, there didn’t seem to be anything to its attempt in California, beyond crude stereotypes about San Francisco

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Event Announcement: WILG 2022 Convention

I’ll be speaking at the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group 2022 Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 1. You may be wondering why I would be invited to speak at a convention of worker’s compensation lawyers. Good question! (Although longtime readers may remember that Merlini v. Canada, the case I successfully litigated against the Canadian government on behalf of a US employee at a Canadian consulate, began as a humble worker’s compensation matter). It turns out that there is a very lively and interesting corner of the law about which I knew nothing at all until about a

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In re BMW: Litigation Funding and Section 1782

The case of the day is In re BMW (N.D. Ill. 2022). BMW was a defendant in German patent litigation brought by Arigna Technology Ltd., an Irish “patent assertion entity.” BMW came to Illinois to seek discovery from Magnetar, an investor in Arigna’s patent portfolio, seeking among other things communications regarding the patents. This may not be the most typical litigation funding arrangement, but if you have ever dealt with a funder, you know how careful you want to be to minimize the risk that any communications between you and the funder will be discoverable. American courts have begun to

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Case of the Day: Von Pezold v. Zimbabwe

The case of the day is Von Pezold v. Republic of Zimbabwe (D.D.C. 2022). Elisabeth von Pezold and members of her family, and Border Timbers Ltd. and Hangani Development Co., both had ICSID awards against Zimbabwe. They brought an action to confirm the awards in Washington. They served process on Zimbabwe by sending the papers by mail to “Hon. Lt. General Dr. S.B. Mayo” at the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” This would, on the face of things, be good service under 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)(3), provided there was no special arrangement for service in the case, and given that Zimbabwe

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What Good Is Section 1783?

The International Shoe revolution, which divorced service of process from territorial jurisdiction, paved the way for easy service of process abroad. But the revolution passed

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What Good Is Section 1783?

The International Shoe revolution, which divorced service of process from territorial jurisdiction, paved the way for easy service of process abroad. But the revolution passed

Read More »

Locality

A court in Israel has ordered the government there to recognize marriages conducted by an officiant in Utah between Israelis attending remotely via videoconferencing from

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