Recent Cases

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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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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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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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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The Extraterritorial Reach of Criminal Statutes

When federal statutes do not indicate how far they reach, courts apply a presumption against extraterritoriality to limit their geographic scope. Last year, in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc. (2023), the Supreme Court revised the presumption by requiring conduct in the United States for a statute’s application to be considered domestic. Meanwhile, lower courts…

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First Circuit Allows Some of Mexico’s Claims Against Gun Manufacturers to Move Forward

Mexico has strict gun laws. There is one gun store in the country, and Mexico issues fewer than fifty gun permits a year. Yet Mexico has the third most gun-related deaths in the world because it borders the United States. An estimated half million guns flow from the United States into Mexico each year. In…

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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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Execution of Judgments Against the Assets of Foreign Sovereigns Located Abroad

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) provides immunity from execution for the “property in the United States of a foreign state.” It does not confer immunity on a foreign state’s property located abroad. The limitation makes sense: to the extent that a foreign sovereign’s property located outside the United States is not subject to the…

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New Decision on Email Service Under the Hague Service Convention

Regular TLB readers may recall that federal district courts are struggling with an important procedural question: whether they may authorize email service when the defendant resides in a country that is party to the Hague Service Convention. In Smart Study Co. v. Acuteye-U.S., Judge Gregory H. Woods (SDNY) held that the answer is no. The…

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Federal Court in Nevada Allows Ethiopia Bribery Claims to Move Forward

In a fascinating decision, the District Court for the District of Nevada (Judge Richard Boulware) recently allowed civil RICO claims to proceed against a Nevada resident based on bribery in Ethiopia, while dismissing claims against Ethiopian government entities under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Fremichael Ghebreyesus v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia not only…

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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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