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Case of the Day: Villoldo v. Castro

The case of the day is Villoldo v. Castro (1st Cir. 2016). Westlaw calls the case Villoldo v. Ruz. I’m no Spanish naming convention expert, but that seems clearly wrong. Anyway, Alfredo and Gustavo Villoldo were Cuban brothers. In 1959, the Cuban government confiscated their father’s property and threatened them, even after they fled to Miami. The brothers sued the Cuban government and high officials, namely Fidel and Raul Castro, in the Florida state court in 2008. The Florida case ended in a $2.79 billion default judgment. The brothers then sued on the Florida judgment in the federal court in New York. Again, the case ended in a default judgment. The brothers registered the judgment in the District of Massachusetts, and the District Court authorized them to seek an attachment. So the brothers served a subpoena on Computershare, a transfer agent in Canton, Massachusetts. Computershare produced documents identifying hundreds of securities accounts blocked under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The brothers moved for an order requiring Computershare to turn over the accounts and filed a trustee process complaint against Computershare. Computershare argued that the accounts were not the property of Cuba and thus could not be turned over to satisfy the judgment. After some procedural complexities, the district court ultimately concluded that the accounts were not subject to the turnover order.
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Case of the Day: AngioDynamics v. Biolitec

Wolfgang Neuberger
The contemnor
The case of the day is AngioDynamics, Inc. v. Biolitec AG (1st Cir. 2015). Actually, there are two cases of the day. In one, the First Circuit affirmed the default judgment against my favorite contemnor, Wolfgang Neuberger, and others, as a sanction for failing to participate in discovery. I’m not going to cover that one. In the second case, the court took up the issue of the contempt sanctions that I dealt with in my prior post.
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Belfast Project: First Circuit Denies Government’s Petition for Panel Rehearing

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has denied the government’s petition for a panel rehearing in the Belfast Project case. As I noted in my post on the petition, the government was not seeking to change the outcome of the case. Rather, it objected to the panel’s reasoning to the extent the panel asserted that the courts had the power to quash a subpoena issued pursuant to a request under the mutual legal assistance treaty. I opined that the court was unlikely to grant the petition, and so it was, though there is no way to know the reasons for the denial.

The First Circuit had called for a response to the petition from Boston College, which indicates that the panel had at least some interest in the government’s arguments. Under FRAP 40(a)(3), no response to a petition is permitted unless the court asks for one. It was somewhat odd to require BC to respond to the petition, since BC did not, as far as I can tell, have a true stake in the outcome of the petition. But I suppose there was no one else to whom the court could look. In any event, I did not comment on BC’s response when it was filed, so in the interests of completeness I am posting it now.