Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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U.S.-flagged ships on the high seas do not fall within the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's (FSIA), 26 U.S.C. 1605, non-commercial torts exception. Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that Israeli Defense Forces attacked the vessel they were on and detained them in violation of international law. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint based on Israel's immunity from suit, finding that neither the "non-commercial torts" nor "terrorism" exceptions of the FSIA allowed jurisdiction. The court rejected plaintiffs' contention that Congress' amendment of the FSIA exception eliminated the requirement that a state be designated a sponsor of terrorism for the exception to apply. View "Schermerhorn v. State of Israel" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that author James Risen, together with publishers, made false and damaging statements about plaintiff in a book. A chapter of the book focuses on software that plaintiff pitched to the United States as a counterterrorism tool, but that ultimately was widely seen as a "hoax." The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants where plaintiff failed to put into the record any evidence that would permit a factfinder to evaluate the legitimacy of his bare assertions. In this case, plaintiff produced virtually no evidence of the software's functionality to factually rebut Risen's statements that it never worked as plaintiff said it did. View "Montgomery v. Risen" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging breach of contract, defamation, and tortious interference with a prospective economic advantage. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants. In this case, plaintiff believed that she had voluntarily withdrawn from her postgraduate clinical research fellowship, but defendants reported to plaintiff's employer, the US Air Force, that she had been terminated for cause. The DC Circuit held that, because there was a genuine factual dispute as to whether defendants gave plaintiff's employer false information, the district court incorrectly granted summary judgment on the defamation claims. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded as to those claims. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the remaining claims. View "Burns v. Levy" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims that employees of Cities Restaurant and Lounge, and the Metropolitan Police Department officers they summoned, reacted overly harshly when she raised a question about her bill and temporarily left the restaurant. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims and the negligence claims against Officer Lee and the District of Columbia; affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Defendant Duru on all claims against him; and vacated the judgment on all remaining claims and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that allegations of the complaint sufficiently made out claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for false arrest and excessive force, as well as common law assault, false arrest, and false imprisonment against Officer Lee. Finally, the evidence was sufficient to create material factual disputes on the common law battery claim against Officer Lee, and the defamation, negligence, and conversion claims against Cities. View "Hall v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and her husband filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), 2671-2680, against the government after she suffered severe injuries in her diplomatic housing when stationed overseas in Haiti. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit because plaintiffs' action fell within an exception to the FTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity for injuries arising in a foreign country. Even assuming without deciding that all overseas diplomatic housing should receive the same treatment under the FTCA as a United States embassy, plaintiffs' claim was foreclosed by circuit precedent. In Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 69, the court concluded that the FTCA's foreign country exception applied to injuries occurring at a United States embassy. View "Galvin v. United States" on Justia Law