Summary: H.R.11315 — 94th Congress (1975-1976)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (09/09/1976)

(Reported to House from the Committee on the Judiciary with amendment, H. Rept. 94-1487)

Foreign Soverign Immunities Act - Grants United States District Courts original jurisdiction, without regard to amount in controversy, of any nonjury civil action against a foreign state as to any claim for relief in person with respect to which the foreign state is not entitled to immunity.

States that, in all such cases, district courts shall have personal jurisdiction over a foreign state where the prescribed service of process is made.

Relates the Congressional finding that determination by the United States courts of the claims of foreign states to immunity would serve the interests of justice and would protect the rights of both foreign states and litigants in U.S. courts. Defines "foreign state," "commercial activity," and other terms for purposes of this Act.

Provides that, subject to existing international agreements to which the U.S. is a party at the time of enactment of these provisions, foreign states are immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts except as provided in this Act.

Declares 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 last 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.

Declares that foreign states are not immune from the 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. Provides, however, that proper notice must be given to the person, or his agent, having possession of the vessel or cargo against the lien asserted and to the foreign state. States that the lien shall thereafter be deemed an in personam claim against the foreign state and that the court may not award judgment 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 occurrence 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.

Stipulates procedures for service of process, time to answer, and default.

Provides that, subject to existing 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 in this Act.

Excepts from such immunity specified U.S. property used by a foreign state for commercial activity and any property of 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.

Excludes 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. Immunizes also, from attachment and execution, property: (1) of a foreign central bank or monetary authority held or 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. Provides for removal of such cases from State to U.S. district courts by the foreign state.

Declares that these provisions shall take effect 90 days after enactment. Adds 28 U.S.C. 1330,1602-11; Amends 28 U.S.C. 1332, 1391, 1441.