The 2020 Supreme Court Term for Letters Blogatory Readers

The 2020 term of the Supreme Court, which will begin in October, promises to be interesting for Letters Blogatory readers. Here are the cases I’m watching:

  • Germany v. Philipp. This is the FSIA expropriation case involving the coerced sale of the Guelph Treasure in Nazi Germany and the efforts of the heirs of the Jewish owners to recover it. I wrote about the case in April 2017. The questions in the case are whether the expropriation exception reaches cases where a foreign state takes property from its own nationals within its own borders, and whether international comity permits a US court to decline to exercise jurisdiction over an FSIA case even where the case is within an FSIA exception, especially if the foreign state provides a remedy for .
  • Hungary v. Simon This is another FSIA expropriation case, this one brought by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Hungary. The question in the case is whether a court can refuse to hear such a case on comity grounds, where the plaintiffs have not sought to exhaust their local remedies in the foreign country.
  • Cargill v. Doe. This case was brought by Malians who claim they were forced to work as children by Ivorian cocoa farmers, in violation of international law. They claim that Cargill is liable for aiding and abetting the violation. The case presents the question whether the allegations about Cargill’s management of the overseas work is sufficient to overcome the presumption against extraterritoriality, and whether there is a rule against liability for domestic corporations under the Alien Tort Statute.

I am, of course, also keeping my eyes open for a petition in the Chanzhou SinoType v. Rockefeller case, the California Supreme Court’s mistaken take on the Hague Evidence Convention.

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