Far fewer coronavirus-related lawsuits have been filed against China in the past few months than previously, an ebb that may reflect any one of several good reasons why would-be plaintiffs would want to wait before bringing a case.
Sean A. Mirski practices a combination of appellate and international law at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, with a focus on public international, national security and foreign relations law. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution. He clerked for Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., on the United States Supreme Court, and for then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as Supreme Court Chair for the Harvard Law Review.
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Significant rulings on two doctrines—standing and scienter—show that Title III’s scope will remain unsettled for a while.
As a foreign sovereign state, China can take a more creative approach to responding—or not—to lawsuits filed against it in U.S. courts concerning the coronavirus.
Senate Judiciary Committee Examines the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Coronavirus-Related Suits Against China
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Coronavirus, and Addressing China’s Culpability”—and the proceedings demonstrated that this corner of foreign relations law has become a political lightning rod.
Several individuals, small businesses and states have filed a total of at least 14 different suits against China (and affiliated entities and officials) based on its perceived culpability in causing the coronavirus pandemic.
One year ago, President Trump allowed Americans with claims to property confiscated by the Cuban government to sue any entity that “traffics” in that property. But a recent decision by a Florida district court has pruned the list of potential plaintiffs substantially.
Last week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made his opening statement before the tribunal overseeing Manila’s arbitration against China. (As regular readers will remember, the Philippines has brought its case under the auspices of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).