Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in International Trade

By
The Swareks filed suit against Herman Derr and DPI in Chancery Court, alleging that Derr and his corporation breached a contract for the sale of Mississippi farmland. Derr died while the action was pending and years later, Derr Heirs filed suit against the Swareks in the German Regional Court seeking a declaratory judgment that they were not liable for any claims arising from the putative land contract. After the initiation of the German lawsuit but before the decision of the Regional Court, the Swareks dismissed all of their claims against Derr with prejudice and withdrew a pending motion to substitute the Derr Heirs in the Mississippi action. The Regional Court dismissed the Derr Heirs' claim but the German Higher Regional Court reversed. Subsequently, the Derr Heirs returned to Mississippi and attempted to enforce a German order for costs in federal district court. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to enforce the German cost award where the Higher Regional Court's decision to sidestep the comity determination and readjudicate claims that had already been settled in the Chancery Court violated the Mississippi public policy of res judicata and the Swarek's right to permanently terminate their claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Derr, et al. v. Swarek, et al." on Justia Law

By
Berezowsky and Rendon, both Mexican nationals, met in Mexico in 2008. Berezowsky learned that she was pregnant and the couple became engaged. Their relationship deteriorated. Berezowsky moved to her parents’ home in Texas, and cut off communication with Rendon. Rendon made repeated attempts to gain information about his unborn child, but received no response. Berezowsky gave birth to P in 2009 in Texas. A month later, Rendon learned his child’s name, sex, and date of birth through a private investigator. At least 12 different courts in the U.S. and Mexico have been involved in the ensuing custody dispute. Both parties have obtained orders by default, which the other party has subsequently appealed. Both parties continued to escalate their efforts. In 2012, Berezowsky filed a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The district court held that P had been wrongfully removed from Mexico and ordered his immediate return. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss. Berezowsky failed to meet her burden of establishing that Mexico was P’s place of habitual residence. View "Berezowsky v. Ojeda" on Justia Law

By
This case involved the disappearance of nearly 2,000 boxes of Christmas lights while in transit from China to Mexico. Mari Jose, a Mexican corporation engaged in the import and export business, filed suit against Transmaritime, a logistics company, for loss of its goods in transit under the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. 14706. On appeal, Transmaritime challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Mari Jose. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Mari Jose because Mari Jose failed to establish the first element of its prima facie case under the Carmack Amendment: delivery of the goods in good condition to the carrier. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. v. Transmaritime, Inc." on Justia Law

By
Plaintiffs filed this declaratory judgment action in federal district court in Mississippi, seeking relief against their longtime Costa Rican distributor. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants. The court held that, even if defendants could reasonably anticipate being haled into Mississippi federal court, they could not reasonably anticipate being so haled to answer claims such as these. Seeing no constitutionally adequate nexus between plaintiffs' claims and defendants' Mississippi contacts, the court concluded that plaintiffs have failed to present a prima facie case that a Mississippi district court could exercise specific jurisdiction over defendants. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.

By
SLM appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of IFIC, a surety, against SLM, the principal on a bond pursuant to which IFIC paid Customs import duties assessed against SLM. The court held that the district court had jurisdiction to adjudicate IFIC's claims against SLM; exclusive jurisdiction over these claims did not lie in the Court of International Trade (CIT). The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to dismiss or abate IFIC's action until the proceedings in the CIT have concluded. With regard to the merits of IFIC's claims against SLM, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of IFIC, concluding that SLM was required to pay IFIC the amounts that IFIC had paid to Customs pursuant to its bond obligations.

By
QT Trading, L.P. ("QT") sued defendants for rust damage to its steel pipes that allegedly occurred during their transport from Dalian, China to Houston, Texas. At issue was whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to in personam defendants on QT's claims for damages under the Carriage of Goods at Sea Act ("COGSA"), 46 U.S.C. 30701 note (Carriage of Goods by Sea), and for negligent bailment of its goods. The court affirmed summary judgment and held that the district court properly dismissed QT's COGSA claims where QT failed to establish genuine issues of material fact where none of the defendants were "carriers" and thus could not be liable for damages under the statute. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed QT's bailment claims where QT failed to show that a certain defendant had exclusive possession of the cargo.