Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in International Trade
Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
Plaintiffs, American purchasers of bulk Vitamin C, filed a class action alleging that four Chinese exporters of Vitamin C conspired to inflate prices and restrict supply in violation of the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. The district court denied defendants' motion to dismiss on the basis of the act of state doctrine, foreign sovereign compulsion, and international comity. After the district court denied defendants' motion for summary judgment, the case proceeded to trial where all defendants settled except for Hebei and its parent company NCPG. Following the jury verdict, the district court entered treble damages against Hebei and NCPG and denied their renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law. The Second Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court then reversed the Second Circuit's judgment and remanded.On remand from the Supreme Court, the Second Circuit once again concluded that this case should be dismissed on international comity grounds. Giving careful consideration but not conclusive deference to the views of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, the court read the relevant Chinese regulations—as illuminated by contemporaneous administrative documents and industry reports—to have required defendants to collude on Vitamin C export prices and quantities as part and parcel of China's export regime for Vitamin C. The court balanced this true conflict between U.S. and Chinese law together with other established principles of international comity, declining to construe U.S. antitrust law to reach defendants' conduct. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. View "Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd." on Justia Law
Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Team Tankers A.S.
The shipper petitioner appealed the district court's order confirming an arbitration award and award of attorney's fees and costs to the respondent carrier. The court concluded that the shipper has not established any ground for vacating the arbitral award. The court rejected the shipper's argument that the arbitral panel manifestly disregarded the substantive law of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701, and the shipper's argument that the panel chairman was guilty of corruption or misbehavior because he failed to disclose his illness to the parties. The court affirmed the district court's order confirming the arbitration award. The court concluded, however, that there was no finding that the petitioner shipper breached the charter agreement. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's award of attorney's fees and costs. View "Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Team Tankers A.S." on Justia Law
United States v. Bengis
From 1987 to 2001, Bengis and Noll engaged in a scheme to harvest large quantities of South Coast and West Coast rock lobsters from South African waters for export to the United States in violation of both South African and U.S. law. Defendants, through their company, Hout Bay, harvested rock lobsters in amounts that exceeded the South African Department of Marine and Coastal Management’s quotas. In 2001, South Africa seized a container of unlawfully harvested lobsters, declined to prosecute the individuals, but charged Hout Bay with overfishing. Bengis pleaded guilty on behalf of Hout Bay. South Africa cooperated with a parallel investigation conducted by the United States. The two pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit smuggling and violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in illegally taken fish and wildlife, and to substantive violations of the Lacey Act. Bengis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act. The district court entered a restitution order requiring the defendants to pay $22,446,720 to South Africa. The Second Circuit affirmed, except with respect to the extent of Bengis’s liability, rejecting an argument the restitution order violated their Sixth Amendment rights. View "United States v. Bengis" on Justia Law
Man Ferrostaal, Inc. v. M/V Akili
Appellants, the M/V Akili, its owner, and manager, appealed from the district court's judgment holding that it was liable in rem for damage to cargo shipped aboard the vessel. Ferrostaal cross-appealed from the holding that the owner and manager were not liable in personam under a bailment theory. At issue was whether (1) an in rem proceeding rendering the Akili liable for damage to, or loss of, cargo was unavailable in this matter because a vessel was not a "carrier" within the meaning of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701, and (ii) the free-in-and-out provision in the Voyage Charter Party purportedly absolving the Akili of in rem liability was enforceable. The court held that the first issue was essentially irrelevant because a vessel's in rem liability for damage to cargo existed under maritime common law, not COGSA, for a violation of a carrier's contractual or statutory obligations. The court resolved the second issue against enforcement of the free-in-and-out provision so far as it might be construed to prevent in rem liability of the vessel. In doing so, the court did not decide whether COGSA applied as a matter of law to this voyage because, even if it did not, the Voyage Charter Party's Clause Paramount contractually incorporated the Hague-Visby rules prohibiting a carrier from contracting for a waiver of its obligations regarding damage to cargo. The court also held that there was no in personam liability for the owner and manager where the carriers remained responsible for delivery of the goods and maintained exclusive control and custody over the cargos through agents they hired directly. View "Man Ferrostaal, Inc. v. M/V Akili" on Justia Law
Schneider v. Kingdom of Thailand
Germany and Thailand signed a treaty, providing that disputes concerning investments between Germany or Thailand and an investor of the other party may be resolved by arbitration at the request of either party. The treaty applies to “approved investments” made before the treaty by investors of either country in the territory of the other. Bau initiated arbitration, claiming that Thailand had interfered with investments made, 1989-1997, in a Thai tollway project. An arbitration tribunal convened under agreed terms, which empowered the tribunal to consider objections to jurisdiction and provided that U.N. Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules would apply. Thailand objected to jurisdiction on the ground that Bau’s were not “approved investments” because Bau never obtained a “Certificate of Admission” from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bau responded that the project was comprised of “approved investments” because Bau was invited to make the investments by the Thai Council of Ministers, which approved the project at various stages, and because the Thai Board of Investment issued certificates of investment for the project. The tribunal held that it had jurisdiction and made an award in favor of Bau. The district court confirmed. The Second Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the court should have independently adjudicated jurisdiction instead of performing deferential review.View "Schneider v. Kingdom of Thailand" on Justia Law
NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina
This case arose when plaintiffs acquired on the secondary market hundreds of millions of dollars of non-performing bonds issued by the Republic of Argentina. In due course, plaintiffs began to bring suit in the United States courts to collect the debt. In these eleven consolidated appeals, they moved to attach a New York bank account owned by ANPCT. The court held that the district court correctly held that the funds in the ANPCT account were subject to attachment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1610 because they were "used for a commercial activity in the United States." View "NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina" on Justia Law
Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. LY USA, Inc., et al.
This case involved the importation and sale of counterfeit luxury goods bearing trademarks owned by Louis Vuitton (plaintiff) and others. Defendants appealed from the district court's judgment granting summary judgment to plaintiff on its claims of trademark counterfeiting and infringement, and awarding plaintiff statutory damages in the amount of $3 million, and more than $500,000 in attorney's fees and costs. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to stay the proceedings; that, as the district court concluded, an award of attorney's fees under 15 U.S.C. 1117(a) could accompany an award of statutory damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1117(c); and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding such fees or in setting their amount. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. LY USA, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Chevron Corp. v. Donziger
Following about 30 years of oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Ecuadorians brought a variety of claims against the company and obtained judgment in Ecuador. Chevron, a potential judgment-debtor, brought action under New York’s Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act, N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5301-5309, which allows judgment-creditors to enforce foreign judgments in New York courts, seeking a global anti-enforcement injunction against the Ecuadorians and their attorney to prohibit attempts to enforce the allegedly-fraudulent judgment entered by the Ecuadorian court. The district court granted the injunction. The Second Circuit reversed, vacating the injunction. The Recognition Act does not grant putative judgment-debtors a cause of action to challenge foreign judgments before enforcement of those judgments is sought. Judgment-debtors can challenge a foreign judgment’s validity under the Act only defensively, in response to an attempted enforcement.
India Steamship Co. Ltd. v. Kobil Petroleum Ltd.
Plaintiff appealed from an order of the district court vacating the attachment, pursuant to Rule B of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, of a check issued by the district court clerk made payable to defendant. At issue was whether the validity of a Rule B attachment of a treasury check issued from the Southern District's Court Registry Investment System (CRIS), representing the proceeds of electronic funds transfers whose attachment was vacated under Shipping Corp. of India Ltd. v. Jaldhi Overseas Pte Ltd. The court held that the jurisdictional defect that led to the vacatur under Jaldhi likewise precluded the attachment of the same funds in the CRIS. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.
Chem One, Ltd. v. M/V Rickmers Genoa; Atlantic Coast Yacht Sales, Inc. v. ESM Group, Inc.; St. Paul Travelers v. M/V Rickmers Genoa
The interlocutory appeals subject to the motion before the court arose from conjoined multi-party actions stemming from a maritime disaster during which the M/V Rickmers Genoa vessel collided with the M/V Sun Cross vessel in the Yellow Sea. On their motion to dismiss appeals from two interlocutory orders for summary judgment entered in their favor in the district court, or in the alternative, for consolidation of the appeals in the captioned actions involving claims arising out of the maritime casualty, the ESM party defendants contended that the appeals were premature and not authorized by the maritime interlocutory appeal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(3), and that consolidation of the appeals was warranted by reason of equity and economy. The court held that, given that the district court had determined conclusively all of the claims against the ESM parties, and that decision was unaffected by any remaining claims, the court could exercise appellate jurisdiction over the present appeals under section 1292(a)(3). Delaying appeal merely because a "final judgment" as to all of the claims against all of the parties had not been issued would defeat the interlocutory nature of section 1292(a)(3) and effectively render the statute a nullity in the modern era of litigation in which admiralty suits frequently involved multiple parties and claims. Therefore, the motion to dismiss was denied. The court granted, however, the motion brought by ESM insofar as they sought consolidation because the appeals arose from the same conjoined multi-party litigation in the district court, and consolidation would be both efficient and equitable for the disposition of the appeals. Moreover, consolidation was unopposed.