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MOL, Inc. v. Peoples Republic of Bangladesh

Citation: 14 ELR 20656
No. No. 83-4094, 736 F.2d 1326/(9th Cir., 07/03/1984)

The court holds that under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) a foreign nation is immune from suit for breach of contract for terminating a license for export of wildlife. The court first notes that sovereign immunity is jurisdictional and must be considered by the court even if not raised by the parties. Bangladesh is immune from suit under FSIA unless its termination of MOL's rhesus monkey export license constituted a "commercial activity" with direct effects in the United States. Although Bangladesh cosntracted with appellant for export of monkeys the revocation of an export license involves regulation of natural resources, a uniquely sovereign function, not a commercial activity. Thus, Bangladesh is immune from suit regardless of the revocation's effects.

Counsel for Appellant
Mildred J. Carmack, John R. Faust Jr.
Schwabe, Williamson, Wyatt, Moore & Roberts
1200 Standard Plaza, 1100 SW 6th Ave., Portland OR 97204
(503) 222-9981

Counsel for Appellee
Donald J. Lukes
Brophy & Lukes
1925 One Main Pl., 101 SW Main St., Portland OR 97204
(503) 221-0220

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Lauri Nicholson, Laurens H. Silver
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
2044 Fillmore St., San Francisco CA 94115
(415) 567-6100

Before WRIGHT, HUG, and NELSON, Circuit Judges.