The Supreme Court of the United States recently held in Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp that Germany was immune from suit brought by heirs of Jewish art dealers on the grounds that the heirs' claims did not fall within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA").
On March 26, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit in the case of Sudan v. Harrison, which involved how foreign states may be served under the Foreign Sovereigns Immunities Act ("FSIA"). 28 USC § 1608 governs service of process on foreign states, and explains that a foreign state may be served (1) "in accordance with any special arrangement," (2) "in accordance with an applicable international convention on service of judicial documents," (3) "by sending a copy of the summons and complaint and a notice of suit ... by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the clerk of the court to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs of the foreign state concerned," or (4) by requesting the State Department to make service on the foreign state. In Sudan v. Harrison, the plaintiffs mailed service of process to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs care of Sudan's US embassy. When Sudan did not answer the complaint, a $314 million default judgment entered, which Sudan then challenged asserting that the mailing should have gone to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs at the actual ministry of foreign affairs, where that official works.