Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2023

The thirty-seventh annual survey on choice of law in the American courts is now available on SSRN. The survey covers significant cases decided in 2023 on choice of law, party autonomy, extraterritoriality, international human rights, foreign sovereign immunity, adjudicative jurisdiction, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. So, on this leap day, we thought…

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An Answer to the Billion-Dollar Choice-of-Law Question

On February 20, 2024, the New York Court of Appeals handed down its opinion in Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. v. MUFG Union Bank, N.A. The issue presented—which I described in a previous post as the billion-dollar choice-of-law question—was whether a court sitting in New York should apply the law of New York or the law…

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What Does Customary International Law Say About Halkbank’s Immunity?

Tomorrow, the Second Circuit will hear argument in United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. to consider whether Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank (but not its central bank), is immune from criminal prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Halkbank claimed immunity under both the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and federal common law. The U.S….

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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Great Lakes

On February 21, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Company, LLC. The question presented was whether, under federal admiralty law, a choice-of-law clause in a maritime contract can be rendered unenforceable if enforcement is contrary to the “strong public policy” of the state…

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Mexico’s Lawsuit against U.S. Gun Makers Opens a New Front in the War Against Firearm Industry Immunity

In 2021, the Government of Mexico filed a lawsuit against U.S. firearm manufacturers demanding $10 billion in damages for the industry’s role in facilitating illegal cross-border gun trafficking and seeking injunctive relief to change the way gun makers do business. Mexico’s lawsuit had to confront the industry’s notorious federal immunity shield—the Protection of Lawful Commerce…

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Third Circuit Clarifies Comity Abstention Test

The Third Circuit recently clarified the appropriate test for deferring to foreign bankruptcy proceedings. The court’s opinion in Vertiv, Inc. v. Wayne Burt PTE, Ltd. is clear, correct, and helpful in disambiguating the different contexts in which other federal courts have referred to “international comity abstention” and adjudicatory comity. The Facts In January 2020, Vertiv,…

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Implied Jurisdiction Agreements in International Commercial Contracts

In an increasingly globalized economy, commercial transactions often involve business entities from different countries. These cross-border transactions present complex legal questions, such as the place where potential disputes will be adjudicated. To provide certainty, commercial parties often conclude ex ante agreements on the venue for dispute resolution by selecting the court(s) of a particular state. However,…

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What Does the State Department Think About the Transit Pipelines Treaty?

On February 8, 2024, the Seventh Circuit heard argument in Bad River Band v. Enbridge Energy Co. Enbridge, a Canadian company, owns and operates a pipeline that transports light crude oil and natural gas liquids from Canadian oil fields to the United States and Ontario. The Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians sued Enbridge for…

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More Choice of Law in Terrorism Cases

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (DDC) hears a lot of state-sponsored terrorism cases. The plaintiffs in these cases typically assert a cause of action under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(c). This action is, however, only available to individuals who are either (1) a U.S. national, (2) a U.S. servicemember, (3) a U.S….

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Ninth Circuit Gets Tangled Up in Minimum Contacts and Due Process

Do the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections require minimum contacts? And do those protections apply to foreign states sued under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)? Those are the fundamental questions on which Ninth Circuit judges offered differing approaches as they resolved a recent petition for rehearing en banc. Regular TLB readers may recall that…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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Chukwuma Okoli

University of Birmingham
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Abubakri Yekini

University of Manchester
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Haley Anderson

University of California Berkeley
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Brian D. Hulse

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
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Wenliang Zhang

Renmin University of China Law School
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Haoxiang Ruan

Renmin University of China Law School
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Melissa Kucinski

MKFL
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