Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SCOTUS Grants Cert. in Cases Involving FRCP 19 and the Republic of the Philippines

The Supreme Court has just granted cert in the case of Republic of the Philippines v. Pimentel, No. 06-1204. Here is the summary of the ruling below and the questions presented for the Court (per U.S. Law Week's Supreme Court Today):

Summary of Ruling Below: In interpleader action brought by custodian of assets of Panamanian corporation owned by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Republic of Philippines, which enacted law declaring forfeiture of Marcos's assets in its favor and which successfully asserted its sovereign immunity earlier in this suit, is not indispensable party within meaning of Fed.R.Civ.P. 19 whose absence requires dismissal of suit, given that (i) republic has no practical likelihood of recovering assets of Panamanian corporation in light of location of res in United States and six-year statute of limitations, (ii) judgment rendered in its absence will be adequate, (iii) if action is dismissed for nonjoinder, claimants will be required to sue again in New York, which would be needless repetition that will not benefit republic, and (iv) no injustice is done if republic now loses what it can never effectually possess; judgment awarding corporation's assets to class of human rights victims who obtained $2 billion judgment against Marcos estate is affirmed.

Question(s) Presented:
(1) Is foreign government that is "necessary" party to lawsuit under Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a) and has successfully asserted sovereign immunity, under Rule 19(b), "indispensable" party to action brought in U.S. courts to settle ownership of assets claimed by that government? (2) Did Republic of Philippines and its Presidential Commission on Good Government, having been dismissed from interpleader action based on their successful assertion of sovereign immunity, have right to appeal district court's determination that they were not indispensable parties under Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(b), and did Republic and its PCGG have right to seek this court's review of court of appeals's opinion affirming district court?


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