Articles Posted in International Trade

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Creative, an Iowa corporation, designs and sells beauty products. LF, a Hong Kong corporation, with its principal place of business in Hong Kong, provides services, including product development, shipping oversight, and production planning. LF contacted Unger, President of Creative, in Iowa, seeking to manage Creative’s operations in China and e-mailed a presentation describing proposed services. Unger traveled to Hong Kong to execute the contract. LF managed Creative’s supply chain; the companies communicated extensively electronically and by telephone for two years. As required by the contract, LF shipped pre-production and production samples (made in China by third party factories) to Iowa. LF received payments from Creative’s customers on its behalf, and sent proceeds, less deductions, to Iowa. No LF agents or employees visited Iowa and LF has no connection with Iowa outside of this business relationship. Creative filed suit in Iowa, alleging that LF breached the contract by sending samples that could not be used because they were defective. The district court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Eighth Circuit reversed, stating that a reasonable jury could find that LF had sufficient contacts with Iowa to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction and that the exercise of jurisdiction would not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. View "Creative Calling Solutions Inc v. LF Beauty Ltd." on Justia Law

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Licensees entered into a licensing agreement with Safeblood Tech for the exclusive rights to market patented technology overseas. After learning that they could not register the patents in other countries, Licensees sued Safeblood for breach of contract and sued Safeblood, its officers, and patent inventor for fraud, constructive fraud, and violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), Ark. Code 4-88-101 to -115. The district court dismissed the fraud claims at summary judgment. The remaining claims proceeded to trial and a jury found for Licensees, awarding them $786,000 in contract damages and no damages for violations of the ADTPA. The district court awarded Licensees $144,150.40 in prejudgment interest. The Eighth Circuit reversed as to the common-law fraud claim and the award of prejudgment interest, but otherwise affirmed. Licensees produced sufficient evidence that the inventor made a false statement of fact; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it gave the jury a diminution-in-product-value instruction; and Licensees waived their inconsistent-verdict argument. View "Yazdianpour v. Safeblood Techs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to three federal offenses: conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana; discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The district court sentenced defendant to 220 months' imprisonment and defendant appealed his sentence. The court concluded that the appeal was moot because there was no effectual relief available to defendant. Defendant disputed only whether the district court should have imposed the federal sentence "to run concurrently to the remainder of the undischarged term of imprisonment." At this point, because Missouri discharged defendant's state sentence, there was no longer an "undischarged term of imprisonment." Accordingly, the court granted the government's motion to dismiss the appeal and denied the motion to supplement the record.

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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.

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Polysilicon producer MEMC entered in exclusive sales representation agreements with Semi-Materials. Under these agreements, Semi-Materials was to serve as the sales representative for MEMC in China and Korea. Semi-Materials brought suit against MEMC, claiming it was entitled to certain commissions. The court held that, considering the four corners of the agreements at issue, the court could not agree with the district court's conclusion that the agreements clearly and unambiguously limited Semi-Materials to receiving commissions only on those sales which included terms whereby the risk of loss remained with MEMC until the product entered China or South Korea. Because the meaning and intent of that language was uncertain and subject to more than one reasonable interpretation, it was necessary to reverse the grant of partial summary judgment and remand this matter to the district court for trial. The court also held that the evidence presented to the jury at trial supported its finding that MEMC clothed a sales manager with the authority to enter into the agreements with Semi-Materials. Accordingly, MEMC could not show there were no probative facts presented at trial supporting the jury's determination that Semi-Materials reasonably relied upon the sales manager's apparent authority to enter into the agreements. Moreover, the court rejected MEMC's argument that Semi-Materials failed to perform a material obligation to the contracts to provide regular reports to MEMC. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's grant of partial summary judgment for MEMC and affirmed its denial of MEMC's judgment as a matter of law.