Case of the Day: Doğan v. Barak

Women holding "Boycott Israel" And Other Signs
Credit: Women’s Boat to Gaza

The case of the day is Doğan v. Barak (C.D. Cal. 2016). This is another case in the “Gaza flotilla lawfare” genre. I previously wrote about Schermerhorn v. Israel, where a motion to dismiss is yet to be decided. The Schermerhorn case is a FSIA case, because the defendant is Israel itself. In today’s case, the plaintiffs, Ahmet and Himet Doğan, both Turkish nationals, were the parents of Furkan Doğan, a US citizen who took part in the Gaza flotilla’s attempt to run the blockade of Gaza and who was killed in the fighting that occurred when the IDF boarded the flotilla vessels after they refused to turn back. They sued Ehud Barak, then Israel’s Minister of Defense, under the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Barak moved to dismiss, supported by the United States, which filed a suggestion of immunity.
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Cert. Watch: Water Splash v. Menon

Back in July 2015, I covered Menon v. Water Splash, Inc., 472 S.W.3d 28 (Tex. Ct. App. 2015), a case in which the Texas Court of Appeals held, erroneously and over a strong dissent, that Article 10(a) of the Hague Service Convention does not permit service by mail, because it refers to “sending” rather than “serving” documents. In October 2015, the court denied a petition for rehearing en banc, and in May 2016 the Texas Supreme Court denied review. Water Splash, the plaintiff below, then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. Such petitions, as a general matter, have a very low chance of success, and in many cases, as here, the respondent waives the right to respond. But in September, the Court requested a response, which generally is an indication that there may be some interest on the Court in the issue the petition presents. So it is possible that at long last we will have some closure one way or the other to the saga of Article 10(a) in the US courts. Stay tuned!
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