Haynes and Boone Secures Fifth Circuit Win for Costa Rican Distributor in Cross-Border Litigation

02/15/2012 - DALLAS – The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Haynes and Boone, LLP Costa Rica-based client in an appeal of a cross-border dispute with Mars, Inc.

The case, argued before the Fifth Circuit in July 2011, raised important jurisdictional issues regarding whether an American manufacturer like Mars can sue a foreign distributor in a United States court where the relationship was centered primarily outside the United States.

Dallas-based Haynes and Boone partners Jeremy Kernodle, Michael Hood and Larry Pascal led the effort on behalf of the Costa Rican distributor.The manufacturer was represented by counsel from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, an international law firm.

The dispute involved a long-standing distribution agreement between Mars and a Costa Rican company who agreed to develop the Costa Rican market and promote sales of Mars products there.

When Mars decided that it wanted to sell products directly to Costa Rican retailers, it sued the Costa Rican distributor in federal court in Mississippi. The lower court ruled in favor of the Costa Rican company and dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. Mars appealed and sought, among other things, an international anti-suit injunction to prohibit the Costa Rican distributor from suing Mars in its own courts in Costa Rica under a local dealer law.

In a unanimous opinion, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the decision of the lower court. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the arguments raised by Haynes and Boone lawyers, concluded that there was no jurisdiction over the Costa Rican distributor, denied Mars’ request for an injunction, and dismissed the case.

The Haynes and Boone Latin American Practice, which has lawyers licensed in Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and Peru working in its U.S. offices, has been recognized as one of the leaders in Latin America by numerous business organizations and publications, including Latin Lawyer and Chambers USA. For the second straight year, Chambers Latin America 2011 researchers recognized the Haynes and Boone Latin America Practice for its handling of high-profile mergers and acquisition matters across Latin America. The firm’s Latin American Practice has also been regularly recognized by industry publications for its work in Central America.

About Haynes and Boone

Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With more than 525 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal. The firm has been named one of the "Best Corporate Law Firms in America" (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2011) and recognized as a “Top 20 Law Firm” for culture and for diversity with respect to both women and minorities (Vault, 2012).




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