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Case of the Day: In re Application of Laos

The case of the day is In re Application of the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (D.N.M.I. 2016). The Laotian government was partners with Sanum Investments Ltd. and Lao Holdings N.V. in the Savan Vegas casino, which was located in Laos. As part of the deal, Laos had given tax benefits and a monopoly to the casino, but due to disagreements, Sanum and Lao Holdings brought a claim in arbitration under the BITs between Laos and China (Sanum was a Macau company) and Laos and the Netherlands (Lao Holdings was a Dutch company). The parties settled the claims in 2014, but Sanum and Lao Holdings unsuccessfully sought to reopen the arbitration on the grounds that Laos had breached the settlement agreement. Laos initiated its own arbitration at the SIAC pursuant to the settlement agreement. Laos also began an investigation of criminal bribery and tax evasion on the part of Sanum and Lao Holdings, which it had discontinued as part of the settlement agreement.
Continue reading Case of the Day: In re Application of Laos

Case of the Day: Universal Group Development v. Yu

The case of the day is Universal Group Development Inc. (Saipan) v. Yu (D.N.M.I. 2015). I believe this is our first case from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Hafa Adai, Saipan! Just a brief word about the status of the Islands and the court: the Northern Mariana Islands are is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States, like Puerto Rico. The US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands is not a court established under Article III of the Constitution: it is established under Article IV, § 3, which provides:

The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

Its judges are appointed by the President (with the advice and consent of the Senate) for a limited term, not for life. This is like the District Court of Guam but contrasts with the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, which Congress, by statute, made into a true Article III court with judges with tenure during their good behavior. Appeals from the court generally go to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Anyway, here was the case. Continue reading Case of the Day: Universal Group Development v. Yu