International Litigation Outline
· There were three avenues created for a foreign citizens to get subject matter jurisdiction in federal courts after Article III was established, which granted the federal question jurisdiction:
Judiciary Act of 1789 aka Alien Tort Statute and 28 U.S.C. § 1350: This statue granted all federal courts subject matter jurisdiction when “all causes where an alien sues for a tort only, [committed] in violation of the law of nations of a treaty of the Unites States.”
Filartiga v. PenaIrala: Paraguayan police officer tortured the P’s deceased. The US court allowed this case to be tried in the federal courts because it dealt with customary international law prohibiting torture and § 1350 gives jurisdictional basis to federal courts for violations of this “law of nations” prohibition.
Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic: The Palestine Liberation Organization killed civilians during a terrorist attack, some were Americans. The court didn’t allow federal jurisdiction.
Judge Robb: He disagreed because he didn’t believe that the human rights issues in Filartiga nor Tel were issues that needed to be tried in the US courts because the intervention might have an effect on the US in a negative manner.
Judge Bork: He believed the Ps had to show a private right to sue the individual.
Judge Edwards: He believed that there wasn’t a tort violation in the murders.
28 U.S.C. § 1331: This statue granted all federal courts subject matter jurisdiction when “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA): This statue granted all federal courts subject matter jurisdiction when there are civil actions against foreign states and state- related entities.
Filartiga v. Pena-Irala: pg 34
i) Facts: Paraguayan police officer tortured the P’s deceased. The Ps tried to get relief in Paraguay, but nothing came of the suit. However, the Ps found out that the D lived in the US so they tried to get relief here.
ii) Issue: Is this type of relief possible for an alien suing another alien?
iii) Rule: If the world agrees that a certain crime is a mutual wrong and that law is understood to be a international law. Then if the law is violated then it could be considered a violation of law of nations leading to the US having jurisdiction.
iv) Holding: The court held that the law if there was a wrong committed that nations of the world have demonstrated that the wrong was mutual then there has been an international law violation which falls under the US’s statue of having a violation of the laws of nations. Furthermore, the court recognizes that this case only decides the question of the US having jurisdiction to try the case and not the choice of law to be applied.
Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain: pg 37
i) Facts: A DEA agent was tortured and murdered by a drug cartel in Mexico. The D was found to be in charge of torturing the agent. P kidnapped the D and took him in a private plan to Texas for a hearing. P sues under Alien Tort Statute. P feels that the D DEA’s overstepped their boundaries by arresting P in Mexico., which allows the federal ct to have smj and creates a cause of action for an alleged violation of the law of nations.
ii) Issue: Does the ATS created a cause of action for an alien for torts committed anywhere in violation of the law of treaties or treaties of the US?
iv) Holding: The court held that the stealing of the P didn’t violate any type of customary international law. Thus, federal law doesn’t need to be used here..
· Torture Victim Protection Act:
o Definition: This act requires that a court decline to hear a case if the P didn’t exhaust adequate and available remedies. (A foreign remedy is adequate even if it is not identical to remedies available in the USA.)
o Who can use the act: This act only authorizes claims against individuals. Sovereign immunity can’t be brought under this claim.
Sequihua v. Texaco, Inc.: pg 60
i) Facts: Ps complained about the contamination of the water, air, and soil in Ecuador. The Ps brought the case in front of the Texas state court.
ii) Issue: Should this be a state court case and if not should it even be tried in federal court?
iii) Holding: The court held that if the case should be tried it should be tried in federal court because the issues deal with international law and the relationship between the US and foreign gov’ts which give rise the federal question juxn. However, the court chose not to try to case because of:
a) Comity of nations: The Ps are from Ecuador and the Ds aren’t Texas residents. T
t the land is still Neff’s. The court had no right of using in rem jurisdiction since Mitchell didn’t attach the land until after the Mitchell v. Neff lawsuit was complete. The land should have been attached before the lawsuit. In fact, Neff hadn’t even owned the land before the suit so it could not have been attached.
iv.) In Personam: Allows a state to have power over a person present in the state.
a. Due process requires reasonable methods are used to give a person reasonable notice of the action and afford the person reasonable opportunity to be heard.
b. A state can get in personam jurisdiction over a non-resident only if that non-resident is personally served with process while within the state.
v.) In Rem: Allows a state having power over a person’s property present in the state.
a. In rem can be obtained of a non-resident’s property if the property is within the state and it was seized before the commencement of the case as a way to secure assets to satisfy future judgment. Additionally, a person can only recover money for the debt owed.
vi.) Collateral Attack: A second action of challenging the validity of the first judgment showing fundamental flaws in the first judgment. In this case, Neff is using a collateral attack against the first law suit in the second suit against Pennoyer because Oregon lacked PJ in the first place.
 Constructive service: Constructive literally means fictional or pretend. However, in this sense, it means to give service via the Newspaper. The court considers it constructive because it is unlikely the person will see the ad.
 Attached: Real estate, cars, or other property that can be used as an attachment to a law suit. It may be used to pay off possible debts. Additionally, if it is attached during a law suit then it can’t be sold while the suit is pending.