Letters Blogatory

The Blog of International Judicial Assistance | By Ted Folkman of Folkman LLC

Case of the Day: Minor v. Juarez

Posted on May 3, 2021

The case of the day is Minor v. Juarez (D.N.M. 2021). David Minor sued Luis Alberto Ramirez Juarez for negligence on account of an automobile accident in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Minor sued in the state court in El Paso Texas. Ramirez, who resided in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, removed the case to the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, which transferred the case to the District of New Mexico. Minor brought a motion for appointment of a vendor his lawyer had hired to handle service of process in Mexico as a special process server for purposes of serving process in Mexico.

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More Servotronics Action

Posted on April 22, 2021

Back in March 2020, the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in the Servotronics case, holding that courts had the power, under § 1782, to order discovery in aid of a private international arbitration outside the United States. Its decision was at odds with the Seventh Circuit’s decision later that year, adding to the circuit split that resulted in the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert. to resolve the split. But while Servotronics pushes ahead in its attempt to get evidence for use in the case, it faces enormous time pressure: the arbitrators recently refused to continue the hearing, now scheduled for May 10, in order to allow time for the § 1782 proceedings to reach a conclusion.

Following the Fourth Circuit’s decision, the case was remanded, and after further proceedings, the district judge decided not to issue the subpoenas Servotronics sought until the Supreme Court had decided the issue. In March 2021, Servotronics filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Fourth Circuit, seeking an order directing the lower court to proceed, given that the Fourth Circuit’s mandate had been favorable to Servotronics. Last week, the Fourth Circuit granted the petition and directed the US District Court for the District of South Carolina to issue the subpoenas “without delay.” Without getting into a big discussion of the effect of a mandate on appeal, this seems correct to me. A district court has to obey the mandate of the appellate court unless it is stayed. The court issued the subpoenas, and the depositions are now set for early May, just in time for the May 10 hearing.

Now, in a new wrinkle, Rolls Royce has applied to the Supreme Court for a stay in the Fourth Circuit mandamus case and also sought an immediate administrative stay. The Chief Justice has ordered a response to be filed by April 27.

Before this latest development, there was a risk that the case would become moot because the Supreme Court would not be able to issue a decision in time for the evidence to be used at the May 10 hearing. Now, there is a new risk that the case will become moot because Servotronics will get the evidence it seeks before the Supreme Court rules. Interesting times! My one hope is that the Court does not end up deciding the big and interesting legal question on its much-discussed “shadow docket” in the form of an order on the motion for a stay—the bar deserves better than that.

ICC Building
Credit: OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Event Announcement: Challenges for the International Criminal Court

Posted on April 15, 2021

Boston Bar AssociationReaders, the International Law Section of the Boston Bar Association is proud to be sponsoring a webinar on May 6, 2021 at 12:00 EDT (UTC -4): “Challenges for the International Criminal Court.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature Alex Whiting of Harvard Law School, Beth Van Schaack of Stanford Law School, and Sam Lowery of Bankside Chambers, and it will be modified by Kim West. Here is the overview:

Established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the International Criminal Court is the only permanent international judicial body to try individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Biden Administration recently rescinded sanctions levied against ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who will be ending her nine-year term shortly. The new Prosecutor, British barrister Karim Khan, will take office in June after prevailing in a highly criticized election process. Multiple challenges are in store for Khan, including criticism of the organization for its lack of prosecutions, geo-centric investigations and inefficiency.

Please join our discussion with international experts and practitioners in their view of the historical challenges of the ICC, the recent election of the new prosecutor and hopes for the future of the organization.

Registration is required for non-BBA members, and if you would like to register, please send me an email (ted@folkman.law) and I will arrange it.