Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Criminal Proceedings and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Congress enacted the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) to address the inconsistent application of doctrines of state immunity to civil suits against foreign states and state-owned enterprises. The statute confers jurisdictional immunity on these entities, subject to enumerated exceptions. Most litigation under the FSIA involves whether a particular defendant qualifies as a foreign…

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Litigating a Russian Bond Default

Russian 200 ruble note

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the sanctions imposed in response by the United States and other governments, have fueled expectations of a Russian sovereign debt default. Despite the Russian government’s recent coupon payments on two dollar bonds and apparent desire to avoid default, prices remain in deeply distressed territory. As often happens in such…

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D.C. Circuit Addresses FSIA in Hungarian Art Case

Last month, the D.C. Circuit addressed several important questions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in its latest decision in De Csepel v. Republic of Hungary, a long-running suit to recover art expropriated during the Second World War. The court held that the defendant Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. (MNV) was subject to jurisdiction…

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Jam v. IFC: Secondary Liability in Transnational Disputes

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a petition for a writ of certiorari in Jam v. International Finance Corp., a case that raises important questions about United States jurisdiction over cross-border disputes.  The case most immediately involves the scope of sovereign immunity where a foreign state or international organization takes actions in the United States that contribute to tortious conduct overseas.  But the case also has broader implications for secondary liability generally.

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Foreign Dictators in U.S. Courts

Statues of dictators

From Augusto Pinochet to Jiang Zemin and Ferdinand Marcos, foreign dictators have for decades faced a range of claims in U.S. courts. But there is also a line of cases in U.S. courts involving dictators as plaintiffs. Over the last decade, authoritarian governments from China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela have used the U.S. judicial system to file frivolous claims against political opponents. And these claims appear to be mainly a harassment technique against dissidents and media outlets based in the United States.

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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

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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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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