Extraterritoriality

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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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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How to Criticize U.S. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (Part I)

[This post is based on a lecture delivered at Wuhan University School of Law on October 15, 2023] China has been critical of U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction. In February, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a report entitled “The U.S. Willful Practice of Long-arm Jurisdiction and its Perils.” In the report, the Ministry complained about U.S….

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Personal Jurisdiction and Extraterritoriality

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said that Congress has constitutional authority to regulate extraterritorially. “Both parties concede, as they must,” Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote in EEOC v. Arabian American Oil Co. (1991), “that Congress has the authority to enforce its laws beyond the territorial boundaries of the United States.” The presumption against extraterritoriality, which…

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A View of Transnational Litigation from the State Department

I recently had the pleasure of reading Footnotes to History: Law and Diplomacy by TLB contributor Mark Feldman. Mark spent sixteen years (1965-1981) at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where he helped write the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Iran Claims Settlement Agreement. The…

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Court Rejects Challenge to OFAC Blocking Order

Sanctions are an increasingly important part of United States foreign policy, and cases challenging them are also of growing significance. Sanctioned entities face an uphill battle in court however, as illustrated by a recent decision from the Southern District of New York: Rusaviainvest, OOO v. Yellen. Rusaviainvest, OOO (the plaintiffs) challenged an order by 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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Supreme Court Denies Cert in Extraterritorial Wire Fraud Case

The Supreme Court denied cert this morning in Elbaz v. United States, a case involving the extraterritorial reach of the federal wire fraud statute. The order lets stand a decision of the Fourth Circuit holding that the wire fraud statute could be applied to a scheme to defraud investors centered in Israel based on two…

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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

Matt Slovin

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Noah Buyon

Duke University School of Law
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Will Moon

University of Maryland
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William K. McGoughran

Vanderbilt Law School
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Chimène Keitner

UC Davis School of Law
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Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Justin R. Rassi

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Isabelle Glimcher

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Ben Köhler

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
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Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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