Embassy Law | Sep 26, 2012

Embassy Law Web Log   
Washington, DC, USA      

Government-Owned Railroad and FSIA

If falling through platform cracks under a train is bad, and having both legs amputated as a result is inconceivably tragic, what is running into a court that cannot exercise its jurisdiction over the defendant railroad?

The plaintiff in Carol Sachs v. Republic Of Austria, docket number 11-15458, suffered her accident in Austria on a Eurail journey, filed suit in the United States and lost again on September 26, 2012 because the federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 USC § 1602, over the defendant railroad and the foreign nation that owns it.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explains in great detail and much clarity why the commercial exception claimed by the plaintiff does not apply, even considering the fact that the Eurail pass was purchased in the United States. -- Clemens Kochinke, partner, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe LLP, Washington, DC.