Articles Posted in International Law

by
In 2014-2015, Schmückle, a German citizen living in Germany, served as MAG Group’s CEO and managing director of MAG Germany. In 2015, MAG Holdings and MAG US sued (in Michigan) for breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference under Michigan law. In response to a challenge to jurisdiction, plaintiffs alleged that Schmückle “transacted business” within Michigan and that his “actions and activities led to consequences” in Michigan. Plaintiffs asserted that: Schmückle was responsible for “worldwide operations,” including MAG US; they (Michigan residents) reported directly to Schmückle by email and phone; Schmückle was involved in determining the Michigan facility's operations, budgets, work flow, and sales priorities; he charged MAG US an annual fee, used to pay part of his salary and expenses; he reallocated work from the “consistently profitable” Michigan facility to the “less-profitable” MAG Germany operations and negatively affected the profitability of MAG US in Michigan; and he told MAG US leaders to prepare to transfer $10 million to MAG Germany. Schmückle allegedly visited Michigan twice as CEO, maintains a residence in Oregon, and sits on the boards of U.S.-based three companies. The district court, without holding an evidentiary hearing, dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Sixth Circuit reversed, stating that the record did not overcome the presumption that exercising personal jurisdiction over Schmückle in Michigan was reasonable. View "MAG IAS Holdings, Inc. v. Schmückle" on Justia Law

by
Hayes, a U.S. citizen, married Pliego, a Spanish diplomat. Their child was born in 2011. In 2012, the family moved to Turkey, where Pliego served in the Spanish embassy. In 2014, Hayes took the child to Kentucky, stating she would not return. Pliego sought the child’s return under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. 9001–9011 (ICARA), which implements the Hague Abduction Convention. The district court determined the child’s country of habitual residence was Turkey and that removal of the child violated Pliego’s joint custody rights under Turkish law. Convention Article 13(b) creates a defense to a child’s return if “there is a grave risk” of “physical or psychological harm” or “an intolerable situation.” Hayes alleged, and Pliego denied, that Pliego had abused her and the child. The court concluded that the evidence of “physical or psychological harm” was not “clear and convincing.” Pliego and the child returned to Turkey. Hayes followed and obtained temporary custody from a Turkish court. That court subsequently dismissed the temporary custody order based on Pliego’s diplomatic status, but Hayes and the child had fled to the United States. Pliego filed his second ICARA petition; the court granted Pliego temporary custody while Pliego waived diplomatic immunity to seek permanent custody in Turkey. During visitation, Hayes photographed bruises on the child; she alleged that Turkish courts could not protect the child due to Pliego’s diplomatic status. The court found credible Pliego’s and his mother’s testimony that the “bruises” were actually mosquito bites, held that custody litigation could proceed in Turkey, held that Hayes had failed to make out a defense under Article 13(b), and awarded Pliego $100,471.18 in fees and costs. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The Spanish government’s waiver of Pliego’s diplomatic immunity sufficiently permits the Turkish courts to adjudicate custody. View "Pliego v. Hayes" on Justia Law

by
The American husband and German wife have lived together in Germany since 2002. They sought damages for complications that arose when a surgical stapler manufactured in Mexico by an American corporation, Ethicon, allegedly malfunctioned during a 2012 surgery that husband underwent in Germany. An Ohio district court dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens in favor of litigating in Germany. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Where a district court has considered all relevant public- and private-interest factors, and has reasonably balanced those factors, its decision deserves substantial deference. Private-interest factors include the relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process and the cost of obtaining witnesses; possibility of view of premises, id appropriate; and all other practical problems. Public-interest factors include administrative difficulties from court congestion; the local interest in the controversy’; the interest in having the trial in a forum that is at home with the law that governs the action; and the unfairness of burdening citizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty. The court here correctly concluded that Ethicon met its burden of showing that if the case remained in Ohio, the vexation it would endure and trouble to the court would be disproportionate to the plaintiffs’ minimal convenience. View "Hefferan v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Cruz was to host a party in his village in Oaxaca, Mexico on New Year’s Day 2006. He went to the municipal hall to deliver invitations, where a man approached and shot him and a bystander. Both men died. The murderer fled the scene. Cruz’s family accused Martinez, then a U.S. permanent resident (a citizen since 2010) whose family lived in the village. Cruz’s widow and parents met with Martinez’s wife and brother before a town clerk and signed an agreement stating that Martinez had “committed the homicide” and that “the family of the perpetrator” would pay 50,000 pesos for “the expenses incurred,” so that “the matter shall be closed.” Days later, two eyewitnesses made sworn statements identifying Martinez as the murderer. An Oaxacan judge issued an arrest warrant. Martinez returned to Tennessee. In 2009, an American consular official asked about the status of Martinez’s arrest warrant. The Oaxacan court responded that it was “still pending and executable.” In 2012, the Mexican government filed a diplomatic note with the State Department, requesting his “provisional arrest” pursuant to the extradition treaty between the two nations. U.S. authorities arrested Martinez about a year later; Mexican officials filed a formal extradition request in 2013. Complying with the procedures identified in 18 U.S.C. 3184-3186, the Secretary of State filed the request with a federal magistrate judge, who certified that Martinez could be extradited. The Sixth Circuit affirmed rejection of Martinez’s habeas corpus action. The extradition will not violate the statute of limitations or his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. View "Cruz-Martinez v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Bašić, a Balkan native, came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee to escape the civil war that was tearing Yugoslavia apart. She settled in Kentucky and became a naturalized citizen. She is now accused in Bosnia, one of Yugoslavia’s successor states, of crimes committed against ethnic Serbs during the war while Bašić was a member of the Croatian army. Bosnia asked the U.S. to extradite Bašić for trial. The Department of State filed a Complaint for Extradition in 2011. A Magistrate Judge certified the complaint, concluding that Bašić was extraditable under a 1902 treaty between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Serbia, 32 Stat. 1890. Direct appeal is not available in extradition proceedings, so Bašić filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2241. The Sixth Circuit affirmed denial, rejecting arguments that the Treaty prohibits extradition of U.S. citizens to Bosnia and that the Bosnian government failed to produce a warrant for Bašić’s arrest as required by the Treaty. View "Bašic v. Steck" on Justia Law

by
A guest at Ohio social gathering, Grimm, brought a rifle and ammunition to the Sunbury house, where he assembled and invited guests to shoot. At Grimm's direction, Rote loaded the rifle; before the bolt moved into a closed-and-secured position, the round exploded and a “loud sound” was heard. Rote sustained severe damage to his right hand. The round that exploded came from a box bearing marks identifying it as being manufactured by DGFM. The allegedly defective ammunition was purchased online through a New Jersey-based company. Rote and his wife filed a negligence and products-liability suit against several defendants, including DGFM. DGFM argued that, as an instrumentality of the Republic of Argentina, it is immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1602. The district court denied its motion to dismiss, finding that the “commercial activity” exception to the Act applies. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that the design and manufacture of a product constitutes a “commercial activity” under the FSIA and that a court need not find that a foreign state has minimum contacts with the United States in order to conclude that the state’s acts have a direct effect here. View "Rote v. Zel Custom Mfg., LLC" on Justia Law

by
Two men died in a 2005 shooting in Oaxaca, Mexico. Petitioner, a legal permanent resident of the U.S., where he had lived for more than 15 years was the shooter. Petitioner frequently traveled to Mexico, where his wife and children lived.The town clerk held a meeting. Petitioner’s family and a victim's family signed an agreement, drafted by the court, identifying Petitioner as the person “who committed the homicide” and providing that his family would pay 50,000 pesos to the victim's family. Petitioner’s wife understood “the agreement resolved the case," because the family of the other victim, “never claimed that Avelino committed any crime.” Unbeknownst to Petitioner, a cousin who was not a party to the agreement reported the homicide to the attorney general. Oaxacan authorities issued a warrant on charges of homicide with “unfair advantage." Meanwhile, Petitioner returned to the U.S., and lived openly under his own name. The Mexican government made no effort to locate him or to obtain extradition. In 2012, Mexico cited the “urgency” clause of the extradition treaty to request his arrest. Petitioner, who had obtained citizenship in 2010, was working to obtain permanent resident status for his family. He made several trips to Mexico to meet consular officials. Neither Mexican nor U.S. authorities detained him or informed him of the warrant. Petitioner was arrested in 2013, and certified as extraditable. He unsuccessfully sought habeas corpus, challenging certification of extraditability. The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the treaty incorporates the Speedy Trial Clause. View "Martinez v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Iraq native al-Maliki became a United States citizen, but visited his children, ages 12 and three, in Syria. He was charged under 18 U.S.C. 2423(c) and (e), which at the time, punished any U.S. citizen who traveled in foreign commerce, and engaged in any illicit sexual conduct, which included noncommercial sexual acts with a minor, or any attempts to do the same. Al-Maliki denied all of the charges, and a trial began. A court-ordered psychological evaluation, deemed al-Maliki “manipulative and dishonest” and assessed his “risk for future sexual acting out” as “moderate to high.” He was convicted. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, characterizing his challenge to the statute as exceeding Congress’s authority under the Foreign Commerce Clause, a “close call.” The court applied plain error review and found the law not “obviously” unconstitutional. View "United States v. al-Maliki" on Justia Law

by
Wataniya, a Qatari corporation, operates restaurant franchises in the Middle East and North Africa. It has never operated any franchises in the U.S., nor does it have any offices, representatives, or employees in Michigan. Other defendants are natural persons, all citizens of Qatar. Beydoun,a U.S. citizen, was approached in Michigan by a Wataniya representative about becoming Wataniya’s CEO to “bring Western culture and restaurant franchises to the Middle East.” Beydoun accepted the position and moved to Qatar in 2007; his family followed in 2008. After moving to Qatar, Beydoun made several business trips to Michigan on Wataniya’s behalf. Wataniya purchased restaurant equipment from Michigan companies. After the relationship soured, the company accused Beydoun of mismanagement and of stealing significant sums of money. Beydoun responded that the company had not paid him his salary nor reimbursed him for living expenses. Wataniya revoked his exit visa, rendering Beydoun unable to leave Qatar. Beydoun filed suit in the Qatari courts seeking back pay and benefits. Wataniya counter-sued for $13.7 million and lodged a criminal complaint. Wataniya’s lawsuit and the criminal complaint were dismissed and Beydoun was awarded $170,000 by the Qatari courts. Beydoun was not legally permitted to return to Michigan until more than a year had passed. Beydoun sued in Michigan, alleging false imprisonment, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution. The district court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Beydoun failed to establish that the claims proximately resulted from Wataniya’s contacts with Michigan View "Beydoun v. Wataniya Rest. Holding, QSC" on Justia Law

by
The FBI investigated Alwan, an Iraqi living in Bowling Green, after his fingerprints appeared on an improvised explosive device in Iraq, and introduced Alwan to a confidential source (CHS), who recorded their conversations. CHS convinced Alwan that he was part of a group supporting Jihad. Alwan assisted in sending what he believed to be money and weapons to the Mujahidin several times and eventually asked to lead the fictional terrorist cell. CHS instructed Alwan to recruit others. Hammadi agreed to join, stating that he had participated in IED attacks on American troops and had been arrested, but bribed his way free and fled to Syria. In Syria, he applied for refugee status to immigrate to the U.S. and answered “no” when asked if he had engaged in terrorist activity. Hammadi had moved to Bowling Green on the recommendation of Alwan, whose family he knew from Iraq and whom he had met in Syria. The two transported $100,000 from CHS to a truck, believing that it would find its way to Iraq, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339A. They hid rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, plastic explosives, and sniper rifles in another truck, for transport to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B. They loaded Stinger missiles into another truck and plotted to murder a U.S. Army Captain. Hammadi pleaded guilty to 10 terrorism and two immigration offenses. Rejecting claims of entrapment and sentencing manipulation, the district court imposed a life sentence. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, noting that Hammadi would not qualify for a departure under either theory. View "United States v. Hammadi" on Justia Law