Tag Archives: Netherlands

Case of the Day: Mees v. Buiter

The case of the day is Mees v. Buiter (2d Cir. 2015). This is the second significant appellate decision on § 1782 in a matter of days—I covered the new Posco case last week. Willem H. Buiter had made accusations against Heleen Mees that had led to her being arrested and charged with misdemeanors for stalking, menacing, and harassment in New York. Buster had claimed that Mees “had sent him thousands of emails and on several occasions attempted to meet him at his residence, despite numerous requests that she cease all contact with him.” He also claimed that her expressed wish that his “plane falls out of the sky” or her “sending him a picture of dead birds” caused him to fear for his safety. There were some racy bits too, which I won’t cover here. Because of the parties’ prominence—both are prominent economists, and Buiter coined the term “Grexit”—the case was covered in the press. The criminal case ended with an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, contingent on Mees’s agreement to participate in counseling and to comply with an order of protection Buiter and his wife had obtained.

Mees brought a § 1782 application, seeking discovery from Buiter “as part of her Dutch attorneys’ investigation of a defamation claim against Buiter” in the Netherlands “and to prepare for the prosecution of such claim.” The basis of Mees’s claim was that she wasn’t a stalker, but instead, she and Buiter had “regularly had romantic encounters.” She wanted discovery in order to corroborate her claim that she had met Buiter on twenty-seven “Romantic Encounter Dates.”
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Case of the Day: Stichting Shell Pensionenfonds v. Krys

The case of the day is Stichting Shell Pensionenfonds v. Krys [2014] UKPC 41. Shell, a Dutch pension fund, had invested in shares of Fairfield Sentry Ltd., a BVI mutual fund and the largest “feeder fund” for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, which needs no introduction. After Madoff’s arrest, Shell immediately sought to redeem its shares in Fairfield, but of course it received nothing. So Shell applied to a court in Amsterdam, its home jurisdiction, for an order attaching bank accounts of Fairfield held by Citco Bank Nederland BV, Fairfield’s asset custodian, in its Dublin branch. The Dutch court approved the attachment; everyone agreed that the Dutch court had jurisdiction over Citco. The High Court of the BVI ordered Fairfield to be wound up and appointed Krys and Lau as liquidators. Shell submitted a claim in the BVI insolvency claim but its claim was rejected. So the situation was that if Shell was allowed to litigate the merits of its claim in the Netherlands and succeeded there, then it would receive the full amount of its claim on account of the attachment, and in effect to have priority over other creditors, who could not hope for such a recovery in the BVI insolvency proceedings. Indeed, as Shell admitted, that was the point of the attachment. Krys and Lau moved in the BVI court for an anti-suit injunction enjoining Shell from prosecuting its claim in the Netherlands and requiring Shell to procure a release of the attachment. The BVI Court of Appeal held in favor of the liquidators, and Shell appealed to the Privy Council.
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Case of the Day: Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland v. Holland America Bulb Farms

The case of the day is Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland BV v. Holland America Bulb Farms, Inc. (W.D. Wash. 2014). Midbrook was a Dutch company that sold flower bulbs to Holland America. When a dispute arose, the parties stopped doing business in May 2000, and Midbrook later claimed that Holland Farms had failed to pay it for the 1999 harvest. Midbrook sued in the Netherlands. Holland America appeared and defended, and it asserted a counterclaim alleging that Midbrook had overcharged it. After a hearing, the Dutch court ordered Holland Farms to pay Midbrook more than $1 million, plus fees and costs. Holland Farms appealed, and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment for the most part, though it reduced the damages to approximately $960,000. The Dutch Supreme Court affirmed, and Midbrook sought recognition and enforcement of the judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals in Washington State.
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