Cases & Deals

Kingdom of Belgium wins dismissal of expropriation, related claims in Eastern District of Virginia

Clients Kingdom of Belgium

Jones Day client the Kingdom of Belgium won dismissal of a case brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The Kingdom, along with a Belgian trade promotion office, a Belgian judge and two Belgian bankruptcy administrators, all of whom were also represented by Jones Day, were sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for an alleged expropriation in violation of international law, arising out of the plaintiff's acquisition of a Belgian company that later failed and was ordered liquidated by a Belgian court. The plaintiffs asserted a takings claim along with claims for fraud, breach of contract, conspiracy, and discrimination, under Belgian and Virginia law.

Jones Day filed multiple motions to dismiss on behalf of all of the defendants, principally on the grounds that neither the ATS nor the FSIA conferred subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and on additional grounds of sovereign immunity and judicial immunity, act of state and forum non conveniens, lack of personal jurisdiction, insufficient service of process, and failure to state a claim. The court granted the motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the grounds that neither the commercial activities nor the takings exception of the FSIA applied, that the claims for takings and discrimination under the ATS did not state violations of international law, and that the act of state doctrine precluded a U.S. court's review of decisions of a foreign court. The court issued an opinion and final judgment on December 20, 2012.