Choice of Law
When a dispute has a connection to more than one jurisdiction, and when the laws of those jurisdictions are materially different, a court must perform a choice-of-law analysis to determine which law to apply. To make this determination, a court will typically apply the choice-of-law rules of the jurisdiction in which it sits. Although choice-of-law rules vary significantly across U.S. states, many courts look to the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws for guidance. The American Law Institute is currently in the process of drafting the Restatement (Third) of Conflict of Laws.
Choice-of-law rules are used to determine the rights, duties, and liabilities of persons involved in a case with a connection to more than one jurisdiction. In the United States, most choice-of-law rules are state law; the federal government rarely legislates in this area. Courts in the United States apply the same rules to international and…Continue Reading
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (DDC) is routinely called upon to adjudicate civil cases where plaintiffs bring claims against foreign sovereigns on behalf of themselves or relatives who were killed or injured in terrorist attacks overseas. If the plaintiff is a foreign national, the DDC must apply the choice-of-law rules followed…Continue Reading
Claude Cassirer brought suit in federal court in California eighteen years ago against the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum of Madrid, Spain, to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that was stolen from his grandmother by the Nazis during World War II. After a reversal and remand from the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, the case is…Continue Reading
Last year, the Supreme Court decided Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, a case about choice of law under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). This post gives a quick update on what has happened since, and where things are going next. Cassirer is a lawsuit about the ownership of a Camille Pissarro painting, surrendered by…Continue Reading