Justia International Trade Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Injury Law
Rote v. Zel Custom Mfg., LLC
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
Young v. Daimler AG
In 2008, plaintiffs were driving a 2004 Jeep Cherokee in San Joaquin County, when the vehicle rolled over and the roof collapsed. Young sustained injuries, rendering her a permanent quadriplegic. Young’s daughter allegedly suffered physical and emotional harm. They filed suit, claiming that the roof and restraint systems were defectively designed. The vehicle at issue was designed, manufactured, and distributed by DaimlerChrysler Corporation (DCC), a former indirect subsidiary of Daimler. Among others, the complaint named Daimler and DCC as defendants. Daimler is a German public stock company that designs and manufactures Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Germany and has its principal place of business in Stuttgart. Before 1998, DCC was known as Chrysler Corporation. After a 1998 agreement, Chrysler Corporation became an indirect subsidiary of Daimler and changed its name to DCC. DCC was a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Michigan. It ceased to be a subsidiary of Daimler in 2007, changing its name to Chrysler LLC. Daimler is not a successor-in-interest to DCC or Chrysler LLC. Plaintiffs served Daimler with the complaint in accordance with the Hague Convention. The trial court quashed service for lack of personal jurisdiction over Daimler AG. The court of appeal affirmed, relying on the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman. View "Young v. Daimler AG" on Justia Law
Russell v. SNFA
In 2003, Russell, the sole occupant and pilot of an Agusta 109C helicopter, died after his helicopter crashed in Illinois. Russell, a resident of Georgia, was living in Illinois and working for an Illinois air ambulance service operating in the Chicago area. The helicopter was manufactured in Italy in 1989. The trial court dismissed claims against SNFA, a French company that manufactured a custom tail-rotor bearing for the helicopter, for lack of jurisdiction. The appellate court reversed and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, noting that Agusta and its American subsidiary, AAC, effectively operated as an American distributor for the tail-rotor bearings in the U.S. market and that SNFA custom manufactured the bearings at issue specifically for Agusta. By engaging a business entity located in Illinois, SNFA undoubtedly benefitted from Illinois’ system of laws, infrastructure, and business climate and has the requisite minimum contacts with Illinois for purposes of specific personal jurisdiction. The exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable; Illinois has an indisputable interest in resolving litigation stemming from a fatal Illinois helicopter accident. View "Russell v. SNFA" on Justia Law
Vance v. Rumsfeld
American citizen-civilians, employees of a private Iraqi security services company, alleged that they were detained and tortured by U.S. military personnel while in Iraq in 2006, then released without being charged with a crime. Plaintiffs sought damages and to recover seized personal property. The district court denied motions to dismiss. In 2011, the Seventh Circuit affirmed in part, holding that plaintiffs sufficiently alleged Secretary Rumsfeld's personal responsibility and that he is not entitled to qualified immunity. On rehearing en banc, the Seventh Circuit reversed, stating that a common-law claim for damages should not be created. The Supreme Court has never created or even favorably mentioned a nonstatutory right of action for damages on account of conduct that occurred outside of the U.S. The Military Claims Act and the Foreign Claims Act indicate that Congress has decided that compensation should come from the Treasury rather than from federal employees and that plaintiffs do not need a common-law damages remedy in order to achieve some recompense. Even such a remedy existed, Rumsfeld could not be held liable. He did not arrest plaintiffs, hold them incommunicado, refuse to speak with the FBI, subject them to loud noises, or threaten them while they wore hoods. View "Vance v. Rumsfeld" on Justia Law
Community Finance Group, Inc., et al. v. Republic of Kenya, et al.
Plaintiffs brought suit against defendants for breach of duty, improper taking in violation of international law, conversion, conspiracy to commit a tort, aiding and abetting an improper taking and fraudulent scheme, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). The court held that, because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330, 1602 et seq., applied to all defendants and no exception to sovereign immunity existed in this case, the judgment was affirmed. View "Community Finance Group, Inc., et al. v. Republic of Kenya, et al." on Justia Law
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. View "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" on Justia Law
Tang, et al. v. Synutra Int’l, Inc., et al.
Plaintiffs, citizens and residents of China, alleged that they were injured by melamine-contaminated infant formula in China. Defendant, among others, manufactured and distributed the contaminated products exclusively to China. At issue was the district court's forum non conveniens dismissal. The court held that defendant carried its burden and showed that plaintiffs could obtain a remedy for their injuries either from the Chinese courts or a fund established by the Chinese government to compensate the children and families affected by contaminated infant formula (the Fund). Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that China was an adequate alternative forum and the district court did not err by weighing the public and private interest factors, finding that China was a more convenient forum in which to adjudicate the dispute. Accordingly, the district court's forum non conveniens dismissal was not an abuse of discretion. View "Tang, et al. v. Synutra Int'l, Inc., et al." on Justia Law