Embassy Law Web Log   
Washington, DC, USA      




District Court Limits Sovereignty in Expropriation Matter

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, DC, limited in Philipp v. Federal Republic of Germany the defendant's sovereign immunity in a clear separation of claims related to alleged takings by Nazi Germany:

[T]he Court GRANTS Defendants' request that the Court dismiss five non-property based claims because Defendants are entitled to sovereign immunity on the following claims: fraud in the inducement …; breach of fiduciary duty …; breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing …; civil conspiracy …; and tortious interference …. The Court DENIES Defendants' request for dismissal on the remaining five claims: declaratory relief …; replevin …; conversion …; unjust enrichment …; and bailment …. Specifically, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently pled these five claims under the expropriation exception to the FSIA pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(3). The Court further finds that these five claims are not preempted or non-justiciable, nor should they be dismissed under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
While the March 31, 2017 decision will likely become the subject of an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington, DC, the 42-page opinion illustrates the court's perception of immunity issues for various types of claims in the expropriation context. -- Clemens Kochinke, partner, Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP, Washington, DC.