Tag Archives: FSIA

Case of the Day: Aviation & General Insurance Co. v. United States

Wreckage of Pam Am Flight 103
The wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103. Credit: Air Accident Investigation Branch

The case of the day is Aviation & General Insurance Co. v. United States (Fed. Cl. 2016). I first wrote about the case in June 2015, in connection with the decision denying the government’s motion to dismiss. Here was my description from the prior post:

The plaintiffs were insurance and reinsurance companies that had insured the aircraft hulls used on EgyptAir flight 648 and PanAm flight 103, two flights that were victims of terrorist attacks that, the United States determined, were sponsored by the government of Libya.

In 1996, Congress amended the FSIA to create a “state-sponsored terrorism” exception to sovereign immunity. The insurers then brought suit against Libya. But in 2008, Congress enacted the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, which allowed the government to restore Libya’s immunity. The United States and Libya entered into a claims settlement agreement, and the government, pursuant to the 2008 statute, terminated the pending lawsuits against Libya, including the insurers’ suit. The insurers had the right to seek compensation in the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, an agency of the Department of Justice. But the insurers’ claims were unsuccessful for various reasons.

The question in today’s case is whether the government’s actions amounted to a taking of property for which the insurers are entitled to compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which provides: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The court denied the government’s motion to dismiss, rejecting the claim that the plaintiffs’ choses in action were not property that could be taken and that the question was a nonjusticiable political question. Today’s decision deals with the proceedings on summary judgment.
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Case of the Cay Commissions Import Export v. Congo

Colgolese 787

The case of the day is Commissions Import Export S.A. v. Republic of the Congo (D. Utah 2016). The Congolese government failed to pay Commissions on public works and materials contracts in the 1980s. An arbitral tribunal issued an award in favor of Commissions, and Commissions obtained recognition of the award in England in 2009. Commissions then brought an action in New York, which was transferred to the District of Columbia, seeking recognition and enforcement of the English judgment. That action resulted in a default judgment for approximately $630 million. Commission then registered the judgment in the District of Utah and served a subpoena on the Bank of Utah calling for information about its “role as owner trustee and security trustee” for a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
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Case of the Day: Weinstein v. Iran

The internet: a series of tubes

The case of the day is Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran (D.C. Cir. 2016). The plaintiffs were victims of terrorist attacks who held unsatisfied judgments against Iran, North Korea, and Syria. They sought to attach “Internet data” managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), namely the top-level domains for Iran (.ir), North Korean (.kp), and Syria (.sy). In other words, the plaintiffs wanted to assume control of the defendant countries’ top-level domains in partial satisfaction of the judgments.
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