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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
9/27/1976--Reported to Senate amended.
(Reported to Senate from the Committee on the Judiciary with amendment, S. Rept. 94-1310) Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act - Grants United States district courts original jurisdiction without regard to the amount in controversy in any nonjury civil action against a foreign state as to any claim for relief in personam with respect to which the foreign state is not entitled to immunity.
Stipulates that, in all such cases, district courts shall have personal jurisdiction over a foreign state where the prescribed service is made.
Stipulates that a foreign state is not immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts if:
(1) the state has waived its immunity either explicitly or by implication;
(2) the action is based upon specified commercially related activities;
(3) the action is based upon rights in specified property, connected with commercial activity, taken in violation of international law;
(4) the issue is rights in U.S. property acquired by succession or gift or rights in immovable U.S. property; or
(5) money damages are sought against a foreign state for personal injury or death, or damage to or loss of property, occurring in the U.S. and caused by the tortious act or omission of the foreign state or its official or employee acting within the scope of his office or employment.
Exempts from the latter category claims based upon discretionary functions and claims arising out of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights.
Stipulates that foreign states are not immune from jurisdiction of U.S. courts in the case of admiralty suits brought to enforce a maritime lien against a foreign state's vessel or cargo, which lien is based upon the state's commercial activity.
Requires that proper notice be given to the person, or his agent, having possession of the vessel or cargo against which the lien is asserted and to the foreign state.
Directs that the lien thereafter be deemed an in personam claim against the foreign state and that the court may not award judgement greater than the value of the vessel or cargo.
Denies a foreign state, which brings or intervenes in an action in a U.S. court, immunity with respect to any counterclaim:
(1) where it would not otherwise be entitled to immunity under this Act had such claim been brought in a separate action against the foreign state;
(2) arising out of the transaction or occurence that is the subject matter of the foreign state's claim; or
(3) to the extent that the counterclaim does not seek relief exceeding in amount or differing in kind from that sought by the foreign state.
Sets forth procedures for service of process, time to answer, and default.
Stipulates that, subject to existing international agreements to which the U.S. is a party at the time of enactment of this Act, property of a foreign state in the U.S. shall be immune from attachment, arrest, and execution except as permitted under this Act. Includes within such exceptions specified U.S. property used by a foreign state for commercial activity and any property in the U.S. of an agency or instrumentality of a foreign state which engages in commercial activity in the U.S., subject to enumerated restrictions and conditions.
Exempts from attachment or any other judicial process the property of those organizations designated by the President as entitled to fall within the provisions of the International Organizations Immunities Act. Exempts from attachment and execution, property:
(1) of a foreign central bank or monetary authority held for its own account, unless it, or its parent government, has waived such immunity; and
(2) used, or intended for use, in connection with a military activity where the property is of a military character and is under the control of a military authority or defense agency.
Specifies the proper district for bringing civil actions against a foreign state.
Authorizes removal of such cases from State to U.S. district courts by the foreign state.
Adds 28 U.S.C. 1330, 1602-11; Amends 28 U.S.C. 1332, 1391, 1441
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