Justia International Trade Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Minn-Chem, Inc. v. Agrium Inc.
Most of the world's reserves of potash, a mineral used primarily in fertilizer, are in Canada, Russia, and Belarus. Defendants are producers with mines in those countries. Plaintiffs are direct and indirect potash purchasers in the U.S. They allege that producers operated a cartel through which they fixed prices in Brazil, China, and India, and that inflated prices in those markets influenced the price of potash in the U.S. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, 15 U.S.C. 6a. The district court denied the motion. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The FTAIA limits the extraterritorial reach of the Sherman Antitrust Act to foreign anticompetitive conduct that either involves U.S. import commerce or has a "direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect" on U.S. import or domestic commerce. Whether it blocks jurisdiction or establishes an element of a Sherman Act claim, the FTAIA bars this suit. The complaint alleged little of substance concerning the relationship between the alleged overseas anticompetitive conduct and the American domestic market. View "Minn-Chem, Inc. v. Agrium Inc." on Justia Law
White Pearl Inversiones v. Cemusa, Inc.
The district court dismissed a complaint asserting breach of contract, breach of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of a settlement agreement, promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, accounting, reformation of contract, and several types of fraud in connection with agreements for "street furniture." After extensive discussion of whether the plaintiff, a sociedad anónima formed in Uruguay, was the equivalent of a corporation formed in the U.S., and the fact that the contract called for application of the law of Spain, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that, while the defendant did not treat plaintiff well, no rule of law entitles every business to a profit on every deal. View "White Pearl Inversiones v. Cemusa, Inc." on Justia Law
Yannacopoulos v. Gen. Dynamics
The qui tam suit, brought by a former contractor for one of the defendants, alleges that defendants violated the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729(a)(1) in connection with a sale of F-16 fighter jets to Greece, which paid for the jets with money borrowed from the United States. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. An FCA claim requires proof of an objective falsehood. There was no evidence to support allegations: that defendant lied about use of funds loaned by the U.S. to capitalize a Greek business development company; that defendant failed to disclose promptly its decision to delete a price adjustment clause from the draft contract; that defendant made misrepresentations relating to provisions concerning spare part purchases and an ill-fated "depot program;" and concerning a number of misrepresentations in two amendments to the contract. View "Yannacopoulos v. Gen. Dynamics" on Justia Law
Schreiber Foods, Inc. v. Wang
Defendant, an American citizen, approached plaintiff, a supplier of dairy products, about doing business with a Chinese company, affiliated with a company operated by defendant's cousin. The American did not claim to be an agent of the Chinese company, but did respond to a request for credit information and paid for the first transaction with her own check. The Chinese buyer claims that the American company wrongfully substituted an inferior product in the second transaction and did not pay. Instead of bringing a claim against the Chinese company, the plaintiff claimed fraud by the American. The district court held that the suit was barred by the economic loss doctrine. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that any false statements by defendant were "interwoven" with the contract; plaintiff could have protected itself contractually against the risk of nonpayment. Holding the American liable in tort would not plug any loophole in contract law. The contract was not concerned with services, for which there is an exception. View "Schreiber Foods, Inc. v. Wang" on Justia Law
Philos Technologies, Incorpora v. Philos & D, Incorporated, et al
Plaintiff, an Illinois corporation, filed suit for conversion against a corporation based in South Korea and individuals. Although the defendants were served, there was no formal response. The individual defendants sent a letter asserting that they had no connection to the corporation and requesting dismissal. Several months later the court entered default judgment in the amount of $2,916,332. About a year later the defendants filed appearances and a motion to vacate for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded. After noting that jurisdiction can be contested in the original proceeding or in a collateral action, the court concluded that the motion was not untimely. The letter did not constitute an appearance by the individuals and the corporation was not capable of making a pro se appearance. The defendants have submitted affidavits concerning whether they had "minimum contacts" with Illinois that must be considered by the court. View "Philos Technologies, Incorpora v. Philos & D, Incorporated, et al" on Justia Law