Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Corporations
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2016
  • Case #: 784 F. 3d 894 (D.C. Circuit 2015)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 784 F. 3d 894 (D.C. Circuit 2015)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether FSIA has an exception to the takings rules for foreign nations, in the event that the taking is not in violation of international law, and if an exception permits corporation shareholders to assert ownership rights to the property and question and whether “wholly insubstantial and frivolous” is the appropriate standard for dismissing a claim for jurisdictional issues?

Petitioner was sued for in relation to their oil rigs and other related property and Respondent claimed that petitioner’s possession said property was in violation of international law. Petitioner’s national assembly published documents declaring that the property was one of public and social interest and should therefore be expropriated. The district court found that Petitioner was a foreign national and that the expropriation exception was inapplicable. The district court found the opposite for the H&P-V. In a split, the D.C. Circuit found that the lower court inappropriately dismissed the expropriation claim by H&P-V. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision to keep Respondent’s claim. The D.C. Circuit reversed over the contractual claims. Petitioner argues that the Court of Appeal’s analysis of the taking’s rule creates a circuit split. Further, Petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals failed to follow precedent involving FSIA and general corporate law. Petitioners further argue that there is a split which should be resolved regarding the standard to be applied to FSIA jurisdictional issues. Finally, as a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, important issues regarding sovereign immunity for foreign nations must be resolved.

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