Nixon Peabody Law Franchise Presents Oral Arguments in Significant Federal Appellate Court Hearing; Commercial Litigation and Arts & Cultural Inst

Nixon Peabody Law Franchise Presents Oral Arguments in Significant Federal Appellate Court Hearing; Commercial Litigation and Arts & Cultural Inst

April 21, 2010 // // San Francisco, CA. In a rare en banc hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Nixon Peabody Commercial Litigation and Arts & Cultural Institutions partner Thaddeus J. Stauber argued on behalf of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (the "Foundation") and the Kingdom of Spain. The Kingdom of Spain is represented by William M. Barron of Smith, Gambrell & Russell in New York, who worked with Mr. Stauber in preparation for the hearing but could not attend himself.

The eleven-judge en banc panel heard arguments regarding the application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 ("FSIA") to a claim filed by a California resident seeking possession of a painting owned by the Foundation, a world-renowned museum in Madrid, Spain.

In 2000, plaintiff Claude Cassirer petitioned the Foundation for a painting by Camille Pissarro which was lawfully acquired by the Foundation in 1993. The Foundation reviewed the complete historical record regarding Mr. Cassirer's claim and respectfully denied it. Mr. Cassirer then filed a lawsuit in the United States against the Foundation and the Kingdom of Spain asserting ownership of the painting. The Foundation and the Kingdom of Spain, which are not accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the painting, asserted that they are entitled to sovereign immunity (immunity from lawsuits filed in the United States) and are, consequently, not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this country.

In the United States, the FSIA governs whether a foreign state or one its agencies or instrumentalities is entitled to claim sovereign immunity in a lawsuit. Under the FSIA, sovereign immunity is presumed, subject to certain exceptions delineated by the statute. The defense argued that the FSIA does not allow a court in the United States to take jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign who, like the Foundation and Kingdom of Spain, has not committed any unlawful behavior. Similarly, the defense believes that the FSIA requires Mr. Cassirer to first seek redress from the alleged offending state, Germany, and if the claim has not been resolved, then pursue it Spain, which has a civil legal system where the courts are open to non-Spanish citizens, before filing a claim in this country.

A decision resolving this appeal (which was filed in 2006) is eagerly awaited—as stripping the Foundation of their sovereign immunity and allowing the case to proceed in U.S. courts would set a perilous precedent for countries and their agencies around the world.

Partner Walter T. Johnson and associate Sarah E. André, both former Ninth Circuit clerks, worked on the briefing and pre-argument phases of this case.



comments powered by Disqus

Franchise News Room »

News By Industry »

Featured Opportunities

Denny's is America's largest full-service family restaurant chain, consisting of 168 company-owned units and 1,692 franchised units, with operations...
Big Whiskey's American Restaurant & Bar®
Big Whiskey's American Restaurant & BarĀ® has become a legend in Missouri over the last 10 years. Now franchising to exceptional operators across...
The Human Bean
Our commitment to developing the best drive-thru espresso led us to franchising. Unlike nearly all other franchises, we do not charge...
Red Mango
Based in Dallas and with more than 300 locations across the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador and Uruguay, Red Mango is a rapidly-expanding retailer of...
Kiddie Academy
Educational Child Care Franchise. Kiddie Academy is one of the nation's most respected providers of quality educational child care.
Share This Page

Subscribe to Franchising Express

A Franchise Update Media Production
Franchise Update Media
P.O. Box 20547
San Jose, CA 95160
PH. (408) 402-5681
In Loving Memory Of Timothy Gardner (1987-2014)

Copyright © 2001 - 2018.
All Rights Reserved.