Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc in Cassirer

The legal saga surrounding the Cassirer family’s attempt to reclaim a Camille Pissarro painting seized by the Nazis has taken another step. Litigation in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation has bounced among the Central District of California, the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States. (For more coverage…

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A Legislative Fix for the Cassirer Case?

Regular TLB readers may be familiar with the Cassirer case seeking to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that was stolen by the Nazis and is now in the possession of a Spanish museum. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (2022) that federal courts must apply state choice-of-law rules to…

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Ninth Circuit Decides Cassirer in Favor of Spain

In 2005, Claude Cassirer sued a state-owned museum in Spain to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that the Nazis stole from his grandmother. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court on a choice-of-law question, and the Court held that state, rather than federal, choice-of-law rules should determine the applicable law in cases under…

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Cassirer on Remand: Considering the Laws of Other Interested States

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…

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Thoughts on the Respondent’s Brief in Great Lakes

In a prior post, I surveyed the facts, procedural history, and potential significance of Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, an upcoming Supreme Court case about the enforceability of choice-of-law clauses in maritime insurance contracts. In a subsequent post, I shared some thoughts about the brief filed by the petitioner, Great Lakes Insurance SE (GLI). In this…

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Update on Cassirer

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…

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New Scholarship on the FSIA

Vivian Grosswald Curran (University of Pittsburgh) has a draft article up on SSRN entitled Nazi Stolen Art: Uses and Misuses of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Many important FSIA cases have involved great works of art stolen by the Nazis including the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Altmann v. Republic of Austria concerning the ownership…

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Supreme Court Round-Up, OT 2021

Transnational litigation has been a persistent, if small, part of the Supreme Court’s docket in the Roberts Court. With the Supreme Court now on its summer break, here is a summary of TLB’s coverage of October Term 2021 cases, which included important decisions on choice of law and federalism and on discovery for use in…

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When Should Federal Common Law Govern Transnational Litigation?

The conventional wisdom is that transnational litigation “can trigger foreign relations concerns.” Because the federal government has primary responsibility for the United States’ relations with other nations, the question naturally arises whether federal law should govern such litigation even when neither a federal statute, nor the U.S. Constitution, nor a treaty is applicable. Currently, as…

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Foreign Sovereign Immunity and Choice of Law—State, not Federal

In Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, the Supreme Court unanimously held that, in adjudicating state-law claims against a foreign state or instrumentality under one of the exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq., a federal court must apply the choice-of-law rules of the forum state rather than federal…

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