Articles Posted in International Law

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H.C. was born in 2010. His parents separated in 2011 and divorced in 2014. Wife claims that violence was a factor but did not raise that issue in the divorce proceedings. Husband denies those allegations. In 2013, wife began a relationship with her childhood acquaintance, “Deleon,” who resided in New Jersey. She obtained a visa for H.C. to travel to the U.S. with husband’s consent. She visited Deleon by herself and married him in 2014. She did not tell husband about the marriage but indicated that she intended to bring H.C. to the U.S.to live; he refused to consent. Wife filed a domestic violence complaint in Guatemala and obtained a TRO. She took H.C. to the U.S., then sent a message informing husband she was there with H.C. She did not disclose their address “[o]ut of fear.” Husband filed an Application for Return of the Child with the Guatemala Central Authority, which forwarded that application to the U.S. State Department. About 16 months later, having discovered that the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction required him to file where H.C. lived, he filed a Petition in New Jersey. The Third Circuit affirmed the denial of relief under the Convention and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA). While ICARA’s one-year filing requirement is not subject to tolling, the delay in filing did not eliminate husband’s remedies under the Convention; the court recognized but declined to exercise its independent authority to order H.C.’s return. There was sufficient evidence that H.C. was well settled in the U.S. View "Castellanos-Monzon v. De La Roca" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs founded ChinaWhys, which assists foreign companies doing business in China with American anti-bribery regulations compliance. Plaintiffs allege that the GSK Defendants engaged in bribery in China, with the approval of Reilly, the CEO of GSK China. In 2011, a whistleblower sent Chinese regulators correspondence accusing GSK of bribery. Defendants tried to uncover the whistleblower’s identity. Plaintiffs met with Reilly. According to Plaintiffs, GSK China representatives stated they believed Shi, a GSK China employee who had been fired, was orchestrating a “smear campaign.” ChinaWhys agreed to investigate Shi under an agreement to be governed by Chinese law, with all disputes subject to arbitration in China. Plaintiffs were arrested, convicted, imprisoned, and deported from China. Reilly was convicted of bribing physicians and was also imprisoned and deported. The Chinese government fined GSK $492 million for its bribery practices; GSK entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. SEC. Plaintiffs sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961–1968, contending that their business was “destroyed and their prospective business ventures eviscerated” as a result of Defendants’ misconduct. RICO creates a private right of action for a plaintiff injured in his business or property as a result of prohibited conduct; for racketeering activity committed abroad, section 1964(c)’s private right of action requires that the plaintiff “allege and prove a domestic injury to its business or property.” The Third Circuit held that Plaintiffs did not plead sufficient facts to establish that they suffered a domestic injury under section 1964(c). View "Humphrey v. GlaxoSmithKline PLC" on Justia Law

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Crystallex, a Canadian gold producer, owned the rights to Venezuela's Las Cristinas gold reserve. In 2011, Venezuela nationalized its gold mines and expropriated Crystallex’s rights. Crystallex initiated arbitration before the World Bank, claiming that Venezuela had violated a bilateral investment treaty with Canada. Venezuela was the sole defendant. The arbitrators found that Venezuela had breached the treaty and awarded Crystallex $1.202 billion. The district court confirmed the award (Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1). Venezuela owns 100% of Petróleos de Venezuela, (PDVSA). PDVSA is allegedly Venezuela’s alter ego, a “national oil company through which Venezuela implements government policies.” PDVSA owns 100% of PDVH, which owns 100% of CITGO Holding, which owns 100% of CITGO Petroleum (Delaware corporations). Crystallex sued PDVH in Delaware, alleging that PDVH had violated the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act’s (DUFTA) prohibition against fraudulent transfers. The complaint alleged Venezuela orchestrated a series of debt offerings and asset transfers among PDVSA, PDVH, CITGO Holding, and CITGO Petroleum so that $2.8 billion in “dividends” ended up with PDVSA (Venezuela) outside the U.S. and could not be reached by Venezuela’s creditors. The court denied PDVH’s motion to dismiss, concluding that there had been a transfer “by a debtor.” The Third Circuit reversed, stating that it did not condone the debtor’s actions but that a transfer by a non-debtor (PDVH) cannot be a “fraudulent transfer” under DUFTA. View "Crystallex International Corp v. Petroleos de Venezuela SA" on Justia Law

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The Board of Immigration Appeals found that Uddin, a citizen of Bangladesh, was ineligible for withholding of removal because he was a member of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). The Board found that the BNP qualified as a Tier III terrorist organization under the “terrorism bar,” 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III). The Third Circuit denied relief with respect to the Board’s ruling dismissing Uddin’s Convention Against Torture claim but remanded his withholding of removal claim. The Board pointed to terrorist acts by BNP members but it did not find that BNP leadership authorized any of the terrorist acts committed by party members. The court joined the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit and the Board in many of its own opinions by holding that unless the agency finds that party leaders authorized terrorist acts committed by its members, an entity such as the BNP cannot be deemed a Tier III terrorist organization. View "Uddin v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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J.B., a U.S. citizen, was born in Ukraine in 2008 to Charles, a U.S. citizen, and Olga, a Ukrainian citizen and lawful U.S. permanent resident. In 2011, Charles secured a job in Germany; Olga was accepted to a Ph.D. program at the University of Pittsburgh. Olga and J.B. moved to Pittsburgh, separately from Charles. In 2013, J.B. underwent surgery. Charles went to Pittsburgh to be with J.B. He unsuccessfully sought jobs in the U.S. The three then went to Germany. In 2015, Olga returned to Pittsburgh to complete her Ph.D. program, taking J.B. The parties agreed to divorce. Charles sent an email, indicating that he might move to another country. Olga responded that J.B. was happy in Pittsburgh, so by the end of the year, returning to Berlin might not be his wish. Charles did not object. In 2016, the parties exchanged emails indicating that they may have previously agreed that J.B. would live with each for a year at a time. A Pennsylvania court issued an interim custody order, allowing J.B. to continue to reside with the Olga. Charles sought J.B.’s return to Germany under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. The Third Circuit affirmed denial of relief. To the extent an agreement could be discerned, the parents’ intent was that J.B. would move to the U.S. not for a visit, but with a settled purpose. Because J.B. had acclimatized to his life in the U.S. at the time of the retention, that was then his habitual residence and the retention was not wrongful under the Convention. View "Blackledge v. Blackledge" on Justia Law

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Dominguez moved to Dutch Sint Maarten in 2007. Dominguez met Didon and moved into his Dutch Sint Maarten apartment in 2009. In 2010, A.D. was born; in 2011, Dominguez’s daughter from a previous relationship, J.D., joined them. Didon and Dominguez successfully petitioned the French consulate to change J.D.’s birth certificate to list Didon as her father. The family resided in Dutch Sint Maarten, Didon worked and the children attended school in French Saint Martin. In 2014, Dominguez took the children to New York for her sister’s wedding, showing Didon round-trip tickets. Dominguez did not return with the children. Didon pursued a custody action. A French court granted him full custody of both children in an ex parte order. Didon’s investigator located them in Pennsylvania. Didon filed a Hague Convention petition. Following an ex parte telephone hearing, the Pennsylvania district court ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to serve Dominguez, and to confiscate the passports of Dominguez, A.D., and J.D. After hearings at which both parties presented evidence, the court granted Didon’s petition. The Third Circuit vacated. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction allows a parent to petition for the return of a child when that child has been removed or retained from her “habitual residence” country in violation of the parent’s custody rights in that country. The Hague Convention is recognized by French Saint Martin but is not recognized by Dutch Sint Maarten. Rejecting an argument that a child could have two concurrent “habitual residence” countries, the court concluded that the children were habitual residents only of the country in which they “lived”—Dutch Sint Maarten. View "Didon v. Castillo" on Justia Law

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CCC, an investment fund incorporated in Guernsey, a British Crown dependency in the English Channel, invested in residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Moonmouth purchased CCC shares for $60 million under a 2006 Subscription Agreement, which contained a forum selection clause giving Delaware state courts exclusive jurisdiction over any action and specifying that Delaware law was to govern. In 2008, CCC entered liquidation. A Guernsey court appointed liquidators, who sued Carlyle and others (plaintiffs in this action) in Guernsey for breach of fiduciary duties owed to CCC. Subsequent Transfer Agreements involving the parties released then-existing claims against Carlyle. In 2012, a Dutch law firm representing Moonmouth sent letters alleging that plaintiffs took unacceptable risks in connection with CCC-managed investments and that they would hold plaintiffs liable for damages sustained by investors in connection with CCC. Plaintiffs sought to enforce the Subscription Agreement’s forum selection clause and the Transfer Agreements’ releases. After removal to federal court, the district court remanded to state court. The Third Circuit affirmed. The Subscription Agreement’s forum selection clause pertains to the case, may be enforced against defendants, and may be invoked by plaintiffs; the Transfer Agreement provides an alternative ground supporting remand. View "Carlyle Inv, Mgmt., LLC v. Moonmouth Co., SA" on Justia Law

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From 2004-2008, Georgiou and co-conspirators engaged in a stock fraud scheme resulting in more than $55 million in actual losses. The scheme centered on four stocks, all quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board or the Pink OTC Markets Inc. The conspirators opened brokerage accounts in Canada, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos, which they used to trade stocks, artificially inflating prices. They were able to sell their shares at inflated prices and used the shares as collateral to fraudulently borrow millions of dollars from Bahamas brokerage firms. In 2006, Waltzer, a co-conspirator, began cooperating in an FBI sting operation. A jury convicted Georgiou of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud. The district court sentenced him to 300 months’ imprisonment, ordered him to pay restitution of $55,823,398, ordered a special assessment of $900, and subjected Georgiou to forfeiture of $26,000,000. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the securities and wire fraud convictions were improperly based upon the extraterritorial application of United States law. The securities were issued by U.S. companies through U.S. market makers acting as intermediaries for foreign entities. The court also rejected claims of Brady and Jencks Act violations and of error on evidentiary and sentencing issues. View "United States v. Georgiou" on Justia Law

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Freidrich and Davis, both American citizens, were passengers on a U.S. Airways flight in 2010 from Philadelphia to Munich, Germany. Davis formerly lived in Pennsylvania, but now lives in Germany. On his 2012 Registration and Ballot Request form, Davis checked a box that declared his intent to return to the U.S. Freidrich alleges that, during the flight, Davis left his seat and, while standing in the aisle waiting to use the lavatory, he fell on her, breaking her arm. In 2012, Freidrich filed suit against Davis for her injuries in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania based on diversity jurisdiction. The court dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Third Circuit affirmed. Freidrich argued that, because Davis manifested his intent to return to the U.S., he did not produce sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that his domicile continued to be Pennsylvania. Rejecting the argument, the court upheld a finding of a German domicile, based upon both Davis’ actions and his declarations of intent. View "Freidrich v. Davis" on Justia Law

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In 1975, a pistol manufactured by MKEK malfunctioned, firing a bullet through Ohntrup’s hand while he loaded the gun. The court held the seller, Firearms Center and MKEK, which is wholly owned by the Republic of Turkey, jointly liable for $847,173.97 and required MKEK to indemnify Firearms Center. The Morgan law firm represented MKEK, but after appeal, sought to withdraw. The court permitted the individual lawyers to withdraw but required the firm to remain as counsel of record until MKEK hired substitute counsel. The Third Circuit affirmed, characterizing MKEK as an intractable litigant and stating that a communication gap would hamper post-judgment proceedings. The Ohntrups tried to collect their judgment; MKEK disregarded the Ohntrups’ discovery requests. The Ohntrups sought assistance from the State Department and pursued MKEK in Turkish courts, to no avail. In 2007, Ohntrup’s widow obtained a $16 million civil contempt judgment against MKEK that grows by $10,000 annually. Ohntrup’s judgments against MKEK are now worth about $25 million. In 2011, Ohntrup’s lawyers learned of a $16.2 million transaction in which a Minneapolis-based company. (Alliant), agreed to sell munitions manufacturing components to MKEK. Ohntrup obtained some discovery from Alliant, but the district court denied subsequent discovery requests. When Ohntrup renewed her post-judgment discovery efforts, Morgan was granted leave to withdraw. The Third Circuit affirmed the order granting leave to withdraw, but remanded the discovery order. The court erred when it relied upon the uncertainty surrounding the judgment creditor’s ability to attach the targeted property. View "Ohntrup v. Makina Ve Kimya Endustrisi Kur" on Justia Law