Posts tagged "Foreign Sovereigns Immunities Act"

Merlini v. Canada: The "Commercial Activity" Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In Merlini v. Canada, the First Circuit dealt with an interesting case involving a clerical employee of the Canadian embassy who was injured on the job. After numerous twists and turns in her attempt to get worker's compensation coverage for her injury, she ultimately sued the country of Canada, asserting that because it did not have worker's compensation coverage under Massachusetts law, she could recover from it directly. Canada argued that it was immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"). 

Fitch Arguments Prevail as Supreme Court Rules on How Foreign Governments May Be Served with Process

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.

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