Tag Archives: FSIA

Case of the Day: Helmerich & Payne v. Venezuela

The case of the day is Helmerich & Payne International Drilling v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (D.C. Cir. 2015). Helmerich & Payne, an Oklahoma oil company, operated in Venezuela through subsidiaries incorporated under Venezuelan law. Beginning in 2007, its subsidiary made contracts with the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, for the use of the subsidiary’s drilling rigs. But PDVSA quickly fell behind on payments under the contract. PDVSA did, however, promise that payments would be forthcoming, and H&P’s subsidiary completed the work under the contract. The subsidiary then prepared its equipment to be removed from the country, but the Venezuelan government then sent its national guard to prevent removal of the equipment and to force the negotiation of new contractual terms. Venezuela issued press releases stating that the drilling rigs had been nationalized. The government later issued a decree of expropriation and some Hugo Chavez-flavored anti-American press releases. Venezuela brought two eminent domain actions in its courts, supposedly to compensate H&P’s subsidiary. But the subsidiary never received service of process in the first case, and the second case was stayed indefinitely. H&P sued Venezuela and PDVSA. The defendants argued the claim was barred by the FSIA and under the act-of-state doctrine.
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Case of the Day: Barot v. Zambia

The case of the day is Barot v. Embassy of the Republic of Zambia (D.C. Cir. 2015). I first wrote about the case in April 2014. The question in the case was whether dismissal was proper for failure to comply with the service of process provisions of the FSIA. As I noted in my prior post, Barot failed to comply with the statute but part of the failure was the fault of the district court, not Barot herself. The district court had dismissed the case. I opined that the case was correctly decided in light of the requirement of strict compliance under the FSIA. Was the D.C. Circuit more forgiving?
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Case of the Day: Moriah v. Bank of China

The case of the day is Moriah v. Bank of China (S.D.N.Y. 2015). The case is related to Wultz v. Bank of China, which we saw in May 2013 and November 2012. The case involves a 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The Bank of China is alleged to be liable under the Anti-terrorism Act and for negligence. Today’s installment involves some back-room politics that reflect the awkardness, for the Israeli government, of the claims against the Bank of China given Israel’s diplomatic relations with China.
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