The case of the day is United States ex rel. UXB International, Inc. v. 77 Insaat & Taahut A.S. (W.D. Va. 2015). UXB brought a qui tam action on behalf of the United States against 77 Construction Co., an Afghan corporation, and 77 Group Co., an Iraqi corporation. UXB sought leave to serve process on both defendants by email via the Afghan company’s US lawyer.
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The case of the day is Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq v. 1,032,212 Barrels of Crude Oil Aboard the United Kalavrvta (S.D. Tex. 2014). The Iraqi government’s view is that under Iraqi law, it owns all of Iraq’s plentiful oil. The independence-minded leaders of the Kurdistan region, however, have other ideas. According to Iraq, the Kurdish government had been illegally pumping crude and had illegally transported some of it to Turkey via a pipeline. Despite Iraq’s opposition, Turkey loaded the oil onto the United Kalavrvta, which then set sail for Galveston. Iraq claims that Kurdistan is guilty of conversion. It brought an action in admiralty against the oil, in rem, and against the Kurdish government, in personam. The judge, on the strength of Iraq’s allegation that the ship was or soon would be in Galveston, ordered the arrest of the cargo. However, the ship was still sixty miles out to sea, outside of the United States’s territorial waters. Kurdistan moved to vacate the seizure order.
Continue reading Case of the Day: Ministry of Oil of Iraq v. 1,032,212 Barrels of Crude Oil
The case of the day is SerVaas Inc. v. Republic of Iraq (2d Cir. 2013) (mem.). We have considered the case twice before: first we looked at the District Court’s decision granting SerVaas’s motion for summary judgment; then we looked at some post-judgment discovery issues. Here were the facts:
Servaas had a contract with the Ministry of Industry of Iraq for supply of equipment and machinery for a copper scrap refinery plant in Anbar Province. The contract, which the parties made in 1989, had a total price of more than $40 million. In 1990, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the US government prohibited American citizens from performing any contracts relating to any industrial project in Kuwait. Servaas was therefore required to terminate the contract, even though it had already delivered all of the goods and carried out many of the services required under the contract. After termination, Servaas demanded payment for services rendered, and when Iraq failed to pay, it initiated an arbitration before the ICC, to which Iraq did not respond. The arbitral tribunal was not constituted, due to the failure of Iraq to nominate an arbitrator.
Servaas sued in the Commercial Court of Paris and served the writ of summons through diplomatic channels on the Iraqi embassy in Paris, which agreed to accept it. Iraq did not appear in the action. In 1991, the court awarded more than $14 million in damages.
The claim in the case was for recognition and enforcement of a French judgment that SerVaas had obtained against Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and against Iraq itself. Today’s case was Iraq’s appeal from the summary judgment. Iraq’s argument, which I covered in the prior post, was that it was error to recognize the judgment against Iraq itself. But the Second Circuit made short work of this argument. The French court had treated the Ministry and the Iraqi state as indistinguishable, and the US courts were bound to do likewise.