Case of the Day: Laventure v. United Nations

UN truck in Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake

The case of the day is Laventure v. United Nations (E.D.N.Y. 2017). I noted the case back in July. It’s a follow-on to Georges v. United Nations, the Second Circuit case affirming dismissal of a claim against the UN and its official arising out of the cholera epidemic apparently caused by UN peacekeepers.

The outcome was more or less foreordained by Georges. The plaintiffs sought to distinguish Georges by arguing that the UN had expressly waived its immunity. They pointed to two reports from the 1990s that “outlining the manner in which the UN would accept liability for damages caused by UN peacekeeping operations.” But the reports contemplated non-judicial means for resolving such claims, such as by claims commissions. Laventure pointed out that the UN had failed to create these means. But that’s exactly the point on which the plaintiffs lost in the Georges case. Moreover, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN requires a waiver in the “particular case,” and there’s no way to construe the two reports that way.

The case has already been appealed, so at some point we will likely get a Second Circuit decision. In light of Georges, the prospects for the appeal are very poor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you for commenting! By submitting a comment, you agree that we can retain your name, your email address, your IP address, and the text of your comment, in order to publish your name and comment on Letters Blogatory, to allow our antispam software to operate, and to ensure compliance with our rules against impersonating other commenters.