The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act bars most suits against, well, foreign sovereigns.  The Republic of Lebanon disqualified American Telecom as a bidder on a contract to manage cellular telephone networks in the Cedar Republic.  American Telecom sued Lebanon in federal court.  It based jurisdiction on the FSIA’s "commercial activity" exception to immunity.  But that exception requires that the foreign sovereign’s conduct have a "direct effect" in the U.S.  The disqualification, the Sixth Circuit held today, didn’t qualify as it didn’t directly affect American Telecom in the U.S.  As the loss of bidder status happened overseas, the company felt the impact only indirectly here.  Am. Telecom Co. v. Republic of Lebanon, No. 05-2408 (6th Cir. Aug. 29, 2007).

Barry Barnett

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