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Just released: Opinion of the US Supreme Court regarding the consolidated Ford Motor cases – A victory for consumers in two defective-product cases

Written by Mayela Celis

On 25 March 2021, the US Supreme Court rendered its opinion on the consolidated Ford Motor cases, which deals with personal jurisdiction (in particular, specific jurisdiction) over Ford Motor Company. These cases deal with a malfunctioning 1996 Ford Explorer and a defective 1994 Crown Victoria vehicles, which caused the death of a passenger in Montana and the injury of another passenger in Minnesota, respectively. The consolidated cases are: Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court et al. and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer.

The opinion is available here. We have previously reported on this case here.

The question presented was:

The Nigerian Court of Appeal declines to enforce a Commonwealth of Virginia (in USA) Choice of Court Agreement

I am coordinating together with other African private international law experts (Richard Frimpong Oppong, Anthony Kennedy, and Pontian Okoli) an extended and in-depth version of this blog post and more topics, titled “Investing in English-speaking Africa: A private international law toolkit”, which will be the topic of an online Master Class at TMC Asser Institute on June 24-25, 2021.

Introduction

In  the year 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal delivered at least three decisions on foreign choice of court agreements.[1] I discussed two of those cases in this blog here and here. In the first two decisions delivered in the year 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal gave full contractual effect to the parties’ foreign choice of court agreement.[2] In other words, the Nigerian Court of Appeal interpreted the parties’ foreign choice of court agreement strictly according to is terms as it would do to a contractual document between commercial parties.

In November 30 2020, the Nigerian Court of Appeal delivered a third decision where it declined to enforce a Commonwealth of Virginia (in USA) Choice of Court Agreement.[3] In this connection, the author is of the view that the Court of Appeal’s decision was delivered per incuriam. This is the focus of this comment.

Facts

In this case, the claimant/respondent commenced action at the Kaduna High Court with a writ of summons and statement of claim dated the 18th December, 2018 wherein it claimed against the defendant/appellant, the sum of $18,103.00 (USD) being due and unpaid software licensing fee owed by them by virtue of the agreement between the parties dated 12th day of June, 2013.

Is Tessili still good law?

by Felix M. Wilke, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Most readers of this blog will be well aware that, according to the ECJ, the “place of performance” of a contractual obligation within the meaning of Article 7(1)(a) Brussels Ibis is not a concept to be understood independently from national law. Rather, in order to determine this place, one must apply the substantive law designated by the forum’s conflict-of-law rules. The ECJ has held so for decades, starting with Tessili (Case C-12/76, ECLI:EU:C:1976:133, at 13). Recent decisions by the ECJ have led me to doubt that Tessili still is lex terrae Europaea, at least as far as contracts with some relation to a right in rem in immovable property are concerned. (And I am not alone: Just today, Marion Ho-Dac analyses this issue as well over at the EAPIL Blog.)

The applicability of Article 7(1)(a) Brussels Ibis in the context of co-ownership agreements

News

Emmanuel Gaillard died on April 1

Emmanuel Gaillard Death - Emmanuel Gaillard Attorney Is Dead, Obituary, Cause Of Death, How Did He Die?

Shocking, completely unexpected news: Emmanuel Gaillard, the leading scholar and practitioner of international arbitration and a giant in the field, died on April 1, at age 69. Pierre Mayer calls this “an immense loss;” Jean-Dominique Merchet calls him a “star”. Le Monde du droit collected some further reactions from French colleagues. Some eulogies in English are here and here. The International Chamber of Commerce also published a brief statement, as did the International Academy of Comparative Law. Diego P. Fernández Arroyo and Alexandre Senegacnik have an extensive eulogy on the SciencesPo site that also includes links to further testimonies.

Only two months ago, Gaillard had left  Sherman Sterling, whose international arbitration department he had founded in 1989 and led since then, and founded a spinoff with six other former Shearman Sterling colleagues,  Gaillard Shelbaya Banifatemi. His new law firm, announcing the death, called him “a totem in the world of international arbitration and a source of inspiration for lawyers around the world.” The law firm asks to share memories for a memorial book to be shared with his family and close ones.

Gaillard was well known as a practitioner (his biggest case may have been Yukos, though he had countless others) as well as a scholar (his Hague lectures on the “Legal theory of arbitration”, republished as a book and translated into several languages,, were a crucial step towards a more theoretical understanding of the field.) Most recently, he had been instrumental for OHADA’s decision to let Sherman Sterling draft a new private international law code for the region. The firm’s own statement of that decision is, however, down. The project, if continued, will need to go on without him. RIP.

HCCH Vacancy: (Assistant) Legal Officer

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is seeking a(n) (Assistant) Legal Officer. The successful candidate will begin work in the field of international commercial and financial law and will gradually also be expected to carry out work in other areas, including family law.

Applications should be submitted by Sunday 2 May 2021 (00:00 CEST). For more information, please visit the Recruitment section of the HCCH website.

This post is published by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference of Private International Law (HCCH). 

The HCCH Child Abduction Convention and the grave risk exception: A petition for a writ of certiorari is pending before the US Supreme Court – Golan v. Saada

A petition for a writ of certiorari has been filed before the US Supreme Court in a case concerning the HCCH Child Abduction Convention and the grave risk exception (art. 13(1)(b)). The issue at stake is: Whether, upon finding that there is a grave risk that a return would expose a child to physical or psychological harm (or intolerable situation), a district court is required to consider ameliorative measures (in other words, undertakings) to facilitate the (safe) return of the child. For the exact wording of the petition, see below. 

Please note that US courts often use the terms “ameliorative measures” and “undertakings” interchangeably (as stated in the petition).This petition has been docketed as Golan v. Saada, No. 20-1034. This petition and other documents relating to this case have been distributed for the Conference of today – 1 April 2021.