Litigation against foreign sovereigns received a boost from yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling allowing discovery against foreign sovereigns to find assets for potential execution by a judgment creditor, as described in an alert by Weil. The ruling provides a fresh catalyst for more global litigation of all kinds, including more tort claims against foreign sovereigns.

Today, niche litigation creates an amazing three-dimensional chess board for moves and counter-moves. For example, Russia has now lost two international arbitrations regarding its appropriation of Yukos through ginned up tax bills. Covington’s cogent press release effectively tells the story of this single arbitration. The arbitration award is here

End of story? No. The larger

Everything is relative in the world of injuries and torts. In the US, defendants and plaintiffs jockey back and forth, and lobby for state and federal changes in laws and/or members of the judiciary.   But, we do not have outright government censorship or reporters being blocked from investigating. Not so, it appears, in China,

It seems inevitable that sovereign liability issues will continue to grow; several posts on this topic are indexed under  the heading  "sovereign."  Two new items caught my eye on sovereign-owned or supported entities.

First, note this NLJ article on decisions holding that FCPA  prosecutions are proper for bribes paid to business entities which are arguably owned or

 A National Law Journal article reports that the Chinese government has been hit with a default judgment in a tort case. Through  February 16 rulings in federal court in Los Angeles,  District Judge Josephine Tucker held that Solid Oak Software Inc. was entitled to a default in a suit alleging governmental theft of software code for use

Here’s an invitation for readers to guest blog or comment on a question related to mass tort litigation, governments and substances that are extracted and exported despite known health risks and the absence of complete certainty regarding health effects. Feel free to reframe the question, but I see it as:  

when, if ever, should  government agencies and/or officials be held liable for statements or other actions taken in support of commercial mining, extracting, distributing or manufacturing of substances known to have some health risks. For example, mining , exporting and manufacturing involving chrysotile asbestos fibers. 

Obviously various sovereign immnunity doctrines already exist and tend to draw lines between tradtional government activties, discretionary functions, and commercial activities. Those lines and these issues seem to me likely to face renewed scrutiny over the next few years due to increased globalization and explicit government outreach to and involvement in commercial activities with international impacts.  For some context for the question, consider this prior post regarding “aiding and abetting” claims asserted against two goverments for assisting the Stanford ponzi scheme.  Consider also a recent article regarding Canadian physicians accusing Canadian officials of issuing misleading statements about the absence or presence of health hazards from chrsyotile asbestos fibers.  The text pasted below is  from this February 12, 2010 article by Michelle Lalonde from the Canadian Gazette. 


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Now it’s west (from Chicago) to Australia, asbestos and the public company fiber cement business commonly known as James Hardie.

 The short story is that James Hardie and its officers and directors have been through a wringer as several were convicted of securities violations in connection with information disseminated regarding ”asbestos liabilities” and a foundation set up by

Here is an unexpected but interesting non-asbestos example of conflict of interest issues arising from efforts to resolve “mass torts” for various persons around the world. The example arises from the airplane crash and airplane hijacking blamed on Libyan terrorists. The article describes a recently filed lawsuit in which two victims of the crash object