Articles Posted in International Law

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The “Old Mill” in Belgrade, Serbia, was confiscated, allegedly from plaintiffs' ancestors, in 1945, without compensation, and later sold to private developers. Prigan now holds title and, with Carlson, renovated the Old Mill. The property is now a four‐star Radisson Blu Hotel complex. Carlson is the licensor of the Radisson Blu brand and participates in the hotel’s management. Ten years before the hotel's construction, plaintiffs began trying to recover their rights over the Old Mill. In 2009 a Serbian court annulled the declaration that plaintiffs’ family were enemies of the state. They sued Carlson, alleging trespass, conversion, conspiracy, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, and violation of the Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Carlson agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of the Serbian Restitution Agency, which was empowered by Serbia's 2011 “Law on Property Restitution and Compensation” to determine rights in the property, including improvements. The judge dismissed the suit on the ground of forum non conveniens. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, noting that the plaintiffs produced no documentary evidence that they have inherited the land and that the dispute is appropriate for the Serbian Agency . Although one plaintiff is an American citizen and a resident of Illinois, the other is a citizen of Canada but a resident of Paris; no aspect of the dispute has any relation to Illinois. View "Veljkovic v. Carlson Hotels, Inc." on Justia Law

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Neto, a Brazilian businessman, entered into a trust agreement with Wells Fargo in 2009 to purchase an aircraft for his business. Wells Fargo borrowed $6 million from 1st Source, pledging the aircraft as collateral. Neto signed a personal guarantee. Three years later, Brazilian tax authorities seized the plane. After Neto stopped paying, 1st Source sued him in an Indiana district court, then filed another lawsuit in Brazil, where the plane resides. Brazilian law permits prejudgment attachment of assets, so that Neto would have only three days to pay the debt after being served with a summons; if he failed to comply the court could seize as many assets as necessary to guarantee payment. Neto unsuccessfully sought to enjoin the Brazilian lawsuit on grounds that the guarantee did not permit duplicative litigation and that the Brazilian litigation was “oppressive.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed denial of Neto’s subsequent motion for an emergency injunction pending appeal, finding that Neto had not shown a sufficient likelihood of prevailing on his claim that the Brazilian litigation was improper. The guarantee Neto signed proves that 1st Source reserves the option to sue Neto for the debt, “in any jurisdiction where the aircraft may be located.” He did not provide sufficient information about the Brazilian lawsuit to establish that it is duplicative of the Indiana suit. View "1st Source Bank v. Neto" on Justia Law

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In 2003, a 7-year-old Israeli girl was killed, her 3-year-old, American-citizen sister permanently disabled, and six Israeli members of their family were injured emotionally, when their minivan was shot up on a Jerusalem highway by members of Palestine Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group supported by the government of Iran. The survivors sued Iran under the Antiterrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. 2333, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1605A, eventually obtaining a $67 million default judgment. The plaintiffs issued federal and state subpoenas, seeking an order directing foreign parent banks to reveal Iranian assets held in any of their worldwide branches. The Japanese bank has branches in more than 40 countries; the French bank has branches in 75 countries. The banks provided the information only with respect to their 17 U.S. branches, which held no Iranian assets. The banks sought to quash the subpoenas. Plaintiffs argued that personal jurisdiction was irrelevant for enforcing subpoenas under Rule 45. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, in favor of the banks. To be entitled to use the federal district court in Chicago to obtain the information plaintiffs sought, they had to prove personal jurisdiction over the banks. The banks are not incorporated or headquartered in the U.S. and the subpoenas were not tailored to the banks’ U.S. presence or activities. View "Leibovitich v. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ" on Justia Law

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In 1998, Kashamu and others were charged with conspiracy to import heroin, 21 U.S.C. 963. Kashamu, refusing to appear (which would have required his presence in the U.S.), insisted that the crimes were committed by his dead brother. He surfaced in England six months later, beginning a four‐year unsuccessful extradition effort. Later Kashamu moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that collateral estoppel barred his prosecution. The Seventh Circuit denied that motion, reasoning that the magistrate in extradition had not ruled on Kashamu’s guilt, but had only been unconvinced regarding Kashamu’s identity. Three years later Kashamu unsuccessfully sought mandamus to dismiss the indictment on speedy‐trial grounds. The Seventh Circuit concluded that he had forfeited that right by remaining a fugitive. In 2015, after his election to the Nigerian Senate, Kashamu filed suit, claiming to have information that U.S. authorities were planning to abduct him in Nigeria. He cited the Mansfield Amendment, 22 U.S.C. 2291(c)(1), which states that “no officer or employee of the United States may directly effect an arrest in any foreign country as part of any foreign police action with respect to narcotics control efforts.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal, holding that the Amendment does not create a private right of action. Kashamu’s suit also confused a lawful attempt by U.S. agents to arrest him on a provisional warrant (a first step toward extradition) in coordination with local law enforcement, with an attempted abduction. . View "Kashamu v. Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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Hernandez and Cardoso, citizens of Mexico, have two children: A.E., born in 2008, and M.S., born in 2002. Cardoso left Mexico with the children in 2014, allegedly to escape Hernandez's abuse and protect the children. Hernandez learned of Cardoso’s location in Chicago and sought the return of A.E. under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Cardoso agreed to return M.S. to Hernandez, but refused to return A.E. The district court heard witnesses and took testimony from the child, in chambers, outside the presence of counsel or the parties. The court found that Cardoso testified credibly that Hernandez hit her in the presence of A.E., intending that A.E. witness the abuse of his mother. The judge “observed a significant change in the demeanor of A.E. when the child discussed Hernandez, the domestic violence and the possible return to Hernandez’s custody.” The court found clear and convincing evidence of a grave risk of physical or psychological harm to A.E. if returned to Hernandez’s custody. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding the credibility determination sound. Repeated physical and psychological abuse of a child’s mother by the child’s father, in the presence of the child, is likely to create a risk of psychological harm to the child. View "Hernandez v. Cardoso" on Justia Law

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The 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701–07, authorizes the President to: [I]investigate, block during the pendency of an investigation, regulate, direct and compel, nullify, void, prevent or prohibit, any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, withdrawal, transportation, importation or exportation of, or dealing in, or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to, or transactions involving, any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. In 2003-2005, President Bush invoked the IEEPA to issue Executive Orders “Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe.” The Office of Foreign Asset Control enacted sanctions, under which property belonging to Zimbabwean Special Designated Nationals (SDNs), located within the United States, was “blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.” Turner was convicted of willfully conspiring, with Prince Ben Israel, to provide services for Zimbabwean SDNs by lobbying U.S. officials, arranging for Zimbabwean officials to meet U.S. officials, and assisting Zimbabwean officials in obtaining travel visas. They were promised payment of $3,405,000. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, upholding the district court’s admission into evidence a “Consulting Agreement” as an authenticated coconspirator statement, jury instructions regarding “willfulness” and unanimity, and interactions with the jury after deliberations began. After reviewing classified information, the court found no violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. View "United States v. Turner" on Justia Law

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Deb contracted with an Indian moving company, Allied Lemuir, to move his belongings from Calcutta, India to St. John’s, Canada, but the company demanded more money and his belongings never left India. After filing suit in Canada, Deb sued two U.S. companies, SIRVA and Allied Van Lines, in Indiana, asserting a “joint venture” theory. The district court dismissed, concluding that U.S. federal courts were not the proper venue for his claim. The Seventh Circuit vacated. The district court did not hold the defendants to their burden of demonstrating that India was an available and adequate forum for the litigation, The parties never addressed Canada as a forum for resolution of the dispute. View "Deb v. Sirva Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1997 Hamas suicide bombers blew themselves up on a crowded Jerusalem pedestrian mall. The grievously injured included eight U.S. citizens who filed a civil action against the Islamic Republic of Iran for its role in providing material support to the attackers. Iran was subject to suit as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(7). A district judge entered a $71.5 million default judgment. Iran did not pay. Among other efforts, the plaintiffs sought to execute on ancient Persian artifacts: the Persepolis, Chogha Mish, and Oriental Institute Collections, all in the possession of the University of Chicago; and the Herzfeld Collection, split between the University and Chicago’s Field Museum. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district judge’s conclusion that attachment and execution were unavailable under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, 28 U.S.C. 1610, which permits holders of terrorism-related judgments to execute on assets that are “blocked” by executive order under certain international sanctions provisions. The assets are not blocked by existing executive order. Nor does section 1610(a) apply. That provision permits execution on a foreign state’s property “used for a commercial activity in the United States.” The foreign state, Iran, did not put the artifacts to any commercial use. View "Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law

Posted in: International Law

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For the first seven years of A.M.’s life, he lived in Illinois with his mother, Martinez. A.M.’s father, Cahue, lived nearby. The two never married, but had a private arrangement, never formalized through a court order, for custody and visitation rights. In 2013, Martinez, a Mexican citizen who worked at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, moved to Mexico and took A.M. with her. About a year later, Cahue persuaded Martinez to send A.M. to Illinois for a visit; he then refused to return A.M. to Mexico. Martinez petitioned for his return under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. 9001. The district court found that Illinois remained A.M.’s habitual residence and dismissed Martinez’s petition. The Seventh Circuit reversed and ordered the child’s return to Mexico. At all relevant times, Martinez had sole custody of A.M. under Illinois law, while Cahue had no right of custody either under Illinois law or the Convention; only Martinez’s intent mattered, and Martinez wanted A.M.’s habitual residence transferred to Mexico. View "Martinez v. Cahue" on Justia Law

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Noboa, while living in Illinois, booked a trip to Mexico by using the Orbitz website. In the lobby of the Barcelo hotel, she booked an eco-tour, operated by Rancho. During the tour, the all-terrain vehicle in which Noboa was riding overturned. She died as a result of her injuries. The district court dismissed her estate's suit against Barcelo and Rancho, finding neither company subject to jurisdiction in Illinois. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that Noboa's death was connected to Illinois through a causal chain that began with her booking the trip while in Illinois. View "Noboa v. Barcelo Corp. Empresaria, SA" on Justia Law