The International Trial Lawyer – 2013 Year in Review
By Mark W. Danis and Jessica A. Roberts*
Looking back at 2013, a unifying thread in many federal cases involving international civil disputes was "location, location, location." The exact whereabouts of a challenged tort or transaction was under the microscope in determining who won and who lost. In these same cases, courts either embraced, or artfully sidestepped, the presumption against the extraterritorial application of U.S. laws.
This past year also yielded one of the first appellate decisions interpreting the protection of the federal SPEECH ("Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage") Act1against "libel tourism"âa situation in which litigants forum shop and obtain defamation judgments in countries with weak free speech protections, and then seek to enforce those judgments in the United States.
Finally, not to be ignored, the Vatican entered a fierce forum selection battle in a dispute that ended favorably for the Holy See.