Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in International Law
Hersh v. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed suit against Hardee's after their six-year-old son was electrocuted by an exposed, electrified wire at one of defendant's restaurants and died. Hardee's moved for dismissal based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, which the district court granted.The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal, concluding that, although its sister circuits take varying approaches to timeliness, under either approach, Hardee's filed a motion that was sufficiently untimely to warrant reversal. In this case, for 18 months, Hardee's knew the essential facts supporting its motion to dismiss. The court explained that the assertion that Missouri is an inconvenient forum for Hardee's rings hollow because of its long delay in filing its motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens. The court concluded that, under these facts, the motion should have been filed earlier than 18 months after plaintiffs filed their complaint and earlier than the end of the discovery period prior to trial. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hersh v. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law
United States v. Ngombwa
During the Rwandan Genocide, the United States admitted a limited number of refugees with priority given to those who were in the most danger, including, in 1998, Ngombwa and purported members of his family. In 1998, DHS received information from prosecutors in Rwanda that Ngombwa had twice been convicted in absentia by Rwandan tribal courts for participation in the Genocide and had been named in an indictment in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The government proved at trial that his admission, status, and eventual naturalization were based on material falsehoods. At sentencing, the government proved to the district court’s satisfaction that the falsehoods were used to conceal Ngombwa’s participation in the Genocide. The Eighth Circuit affirmed his convictions for unlawful procurement of naturalization and conspiracy to commit the same, 18 U.S.C. 1425, 371, and his above-Guidelines sentence of 180 months. Rejecting Ngombwa’s claim his counsel was ineffective for failing to contact and interview five of his family members, the court reasoned that counsel made a strategic decision to avoid more detrimental evidence. View "United States v. Ngombwa" on Justia Law
Cohen v. Cohen
Father, a citizen of Israel, petitioned for return of the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001-9011. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in finding that the child's habitual residence was the United States, and thus the retention of the child was not wrongful within the meaning of the Convention. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Cohen v. Cohen" on Justia Law
Custodio v. Torres Samillan
Torres are the parents of M. and G. who were born and resided in Peru until Torres removed them to the United States. Custodio seeks return of the children to Peru under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention), Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 1343 U.N.T.S. 89, and its implementing statute, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001–11. The district court denied Custodio's petition. Because M. turned 16 during the pendency of these proceedings, the court concluded that the Hague Convention no longer applies to him and dismissed as moot the appeal as to M. The court also concluded that the district court did not clearly err in finding that G.’s statements constituted an objection within the meaning of the mature child defense. Finally, the court concluded that the district court’s decision to respect 15-year-old G.’s opposition to returning to Peru and desire to remain in the United States was not an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment as to G. View "Custodio v. Torres Samillan" on Justia Law
Andover Healthcare, Inc. v. 3M Company
Andover appealed the district court's denial of its 28 U.S.C. 1782 petition for discovery to be used in a patent-infringement suit in Germany. The district court considered Andover’s petition in light of the considerations identified by the Supreme Court and concluded that three considerations weighed against an order of production: (1) 3M is a party to the parallel German infringement suit and the German court had said it would grant Andover’s discovery request if necessary to resolve the case; (2) the “highly sensitive nature of the requested discovery, and the lack of certainty that its confidentiality can be maintained," and (3) Andover’s apparent attempt to avoid or preempt an unfavorable decision on discovery by the German court. In this case, the German court is in a position to order the requested discovery if the information is needed, and the German court is best positioned to assess whether any disclosure can be accomplished without jeopardizing the sensitive trade secrets involved. Accordingly, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Andover's petition. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Andover Healthcare, Inc. v. 3M Company" on Justia Law
AVR Commc’ns, Ltd. v. Am. Hearing Sys., Inc.
AVR, an Israeli corporation, and Interton, a Minnesota corporation, produce hearing aid technology, and entered into an Agreement, giving Interton a 20 percent interest in AVR. During negotiations, they discussed integrating AVR's DFC technology into Interton's products, and Interton's purchase of AVR's W.C. components. The Agreement incorporated terms indicating that the Agreement would be governed by the laws of the State of Israel and that “Any dispute between the parties relating to (or arising out of) the provisions of this Agreement … will be referred exclusively to the decision of a single arbitrator … bound by Israeli substantive law.” AVR commenced arbitration in Israel. Interton participated, but believed that disputes concerning DFC and W.C. were separate and not subject to arbitration. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected Interton's objection to the scope of arbitration, citing the "relating to (or arising out of)" language. An Israeli arbitrator awarded AVR $2,675,000 on its DFC and W.C. claims, plus fees and expenses. After the award became final in Israel, in accordance with the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 9 U.S.C. 201, AVR successfully petitioned the district court for recognition and enforcement in the US. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The Convention does not allow Interton to relitigate the scope of arbitration in an American court. View "AVR Commc'ns, Ltd. v. Am. Hearing Sys., Inc." on Justia Law
United States v. Omar
Omar was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A(a); providing material support to terrorists; conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1); providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons outside of the United States, 18 U.S.C. 956(a)(1). Omar moved to suppress any identification evidence. A magistrate judge held a hearing and recommended that Omar’s motion be granted, finding that the pre-trial identification technique used three witnesses was impermissibly suggestive because it amounted to a single-photograph identification and that repeated displays of Omar’s picture “served to dispel any hesitation the witnesses may have had in their original identification[s].” The district court rejected the recommendation and denied Omar’s motion, stating these witnesses “were sufficiently familiar with the Defendant to provide an accurate identification.” The court also denied a motion for disclosure or suppression of evidence obtained from electronic surveillance conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C.1801. The Eighth Circuit affirmed his conviction, upholding admission of testimony by a government terrorism expert concerning global jihad and the court's evidentiary rulings. View "United States v. Omar" on Justia Law
Eagle Tech. v. Expander Americas, Inc.
Expander Global conducts no business and is merely a holding company for its wholly owned subsidiary, Expander SystemSweden, another Swedish corporation. Expander Sweden wholly owns Expander Americas. Those companies manufacture industrial pins used in heavy machinery. In 2010, Eagle entered into an Independent Contractor Agreement with Expander Americas to provide consulting services. The Agreement led to a relationship between Global and Bakker, Eagle’s sole owner, who acted as a project manager and as secretary of the Global Board of Directors. In 2011, Global terminated Bakker from his positions and its agreement with Eagle. Eagle sued Expander Americas, alleging breach of contract and promissory estoppel; Bakker sued Global for quantum meruit. The district court dismissed the quantum meruit action for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that Global did not have the requisite minimum contacts with Missouri to be subject to its Long-Arm Statute or to satisfy due process. It was not licensed to do business in the state; it did not advertise within the state; it did not send employees to the state; and no money was received or sent to the state. The court granted Expander Americas summary judgment on the remaining claims, based on the statute of frauds. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. View "Eagle Tech. v. Expander Americas, Inc." on Justia Law
Acosta v. Acosta, et al.
Petitioner, the father, sought the return of his children to Peru under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and its implementing legislation, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. 11601 et seq. The district court found that petitioner's violent temper and inability to cope with the prospect of losing custody of the children would expose them to a grave risk of harm were they returned to Peru. On appeal, petitioner challenged the district court's determination and respondent, the mother, cross-appealed. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting an expert's testimony that several factors indicated that returning the children to Peru would expose them to a high risk of harm where the factual basis for the expert's testimony was sufficient. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to return the children to Peru where petitioner did not make a specific proposal for appropriate undertakings before the district court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment and dismissed the cross-appeal as moot. View "Acosta v. Acosta, et al." on Justia Law
Government of Ghana v. ProEnergy Services, LLC, et al.
This case stemmed from a dispute between Ghana and Balkan Energy Company where Balkan contracted with Ghana to refurbish and recommission a 125 megawatt power barge. Ghana filed an application for discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782, seeking documents exchanged in a separate lawsuit between the current defendants. The district court granted Ghana's application and ordered the Missouri companies (collectively ProEnergy) to produce documents. ProEnergy produced some documents and discovery materials from its lawsuit with Balkan, but it refused other documents related to the settlement of that lawsuit. Because ProEnergy had already produced most of the documents, depositions, and interrogatory answers from its lawsuit with Balkan, and because ProEnergy was not party to the foreign litigation, the court was not persuaded that any fundamental unfairness was caused by the district court declining to compel production of the settlement documents. Accordingly, the court affirmed the decision.