In its latest decision interpreting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that any claim of immunity by a foreign state must rise or fall based on the text of the FSIA. Because the FSIA does not spell out any immunity or special protections for foreign states that have already lost civil suits and are the target of post-judgment discovery, foreign states cannot rely on the FSIA to resist such discovery.
Facts of Argentina v. NML -
In 2001, in the midst of a severe economic downturn, Argentina defaulted on its debt obligations. NML Capital Ltd., a bondholder, sued Argentina for its unpaid debts in federal district court in New York. The FSIA did not shield Argentina from suit in federal court because the bond indenture agreement between Argentina and NML contained a broad waiver of Argentina’s immunities. NML prevailed in each of its 11 actions against Argentina, yielding judgments of $2.5 billion.
Originally published in Law360, New York on June 18, 2014.
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