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GILSON v. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

June 29, 1981

James K. GILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
The REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHNSON

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court upon the motion of defendants Gaeltarra Eireann, Leictron Teoranta, and Industrial Development Authority to dismiss the complaint, the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment and the defendant Republic of Ireland's second motion for summary judgment. In this action brought pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq., all four defendants have invoked the defense of sovereign immunity. For the reasons more fully set forth below, the Court finds it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action as to defendants Leictron Teoranta, Industrial Development Authority, and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the Court finds it lacks personal jurisdiction over defendant Gaeltarra Eireann. Accordingly, the complaint against all defendants to this action must be dismissed with prejudice.

 BACKGROUND OF THE LITIGATION

 The amended complaint *fn1" in this action was filed in January 1980, and names as defendants, the Republic of Ireland (Ireland), Gaeltarra Eireann (GE) and Leictron Teoranta (LT), both as instrumentalities of the Republic of Ireland, and Industrial Development Authority of Ireland (IDA), as a political subdivision and instrumentality of the Republic of Ireland. Jurisdiction is averred to be based on 28 U.S.C. § 1330 and 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq., the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. The plaintiff, a mechanical engineer, alleges that defendants GE and IDA induced him to enter into a commercial venture for the development of quartz crystals in Ireland, to move himself, his family, equipment, technology to Ireland, and to reveal to defendants certain proprietary information. The complaint further contends that subsequent to the plaintiff's move to Ireland, defendant GE breached its contract with plaintiff, turned over to defendant LT his patent rights and proprietary information, and along with LT, converted his equipment to their own use. Plaintiff also alleges the interference by defendants GE and LT with his ongoing contractual relations with another Irish corporation. The complaint charges that defendant Republic of Ireland is liable to plaintiff for the acts of the agents of the other defendants because such acts were allegedly committed within their scope of employment by Ireland. The plaintiff seeks damages in an amount totalling three million dollars, in addition to an accounting by defendants GE and LT for all revenues inured to them by virtue of their wrongful conduct.

 Through motions to dismiss and for summary judgment the defendants, inter alia, raise the defenses of sovereign immunity and the statute of limitations. Because the Court finds it lacks jurisdiction over this matter under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Court makes no findings as to the other issues raised by the parties.

 DISCUSSION

 The stated purpose of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 is:

 
to provide when and how parties can maintain a lawsuit against a foreign state or its entities in the courts of the United States and to provide when a foreign state is entitled to sovereign immunity.

 H.R. Rep. No. 94-1487, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1976), reprinted in (1976) U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News, p. 6604-6635 (House Report). The Act is designed to codify the restrictive principle of sovereign immunity that makes a foreign state amenable to suit for the consequences of its commercial or private acts, as opposed to its public or governmental acts. Also, a principal purpose of the Act is:

 
to transfer the determination of sovereign immunity from the executive branch to the judicial branch, thereby reducing the foreign policy implications of immunity determinations and assuring litigants that these often crucial decisions are made on purely legal grounds and under procedures that insure due process.

 House Report, supra at 7, U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News 1976, p. 6606. The FSIA added section 1330 to Title 28 of the United States Code to provide district courts with both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over nonjury civil actions that involve claims against foreign states that are not entitled to immunity under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1605-07, or under any international agreement. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1330 provides:

 
(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction without regard to amount in controversy of any nonjury civil action against a foreign state as defined in section 1603(a) of this title as to any claim for relief in personam with respect to which the foreign state is not entitled to immunity either under sections 1605-1607 of this title or under any applicable international agreement.
 
(c) For purposes of subsection (b), an appearance by a foreign state does not confer personal jurisdiction with respect to any claim for relief not arising out of any transaction or occurrence enumerated in sections 1605-1607 of this title.

 The Act thereby creates an identity of substance and procedure; that is, it requires the court to examine the underlying claim in light of the immunity exceptions set forth in sections 1605-1607 whenever a jurisdictional defense of sovereign immunity is interposed. Upton v. Empire of Iran, 459 F. Supp. 264, 265 (D.D.C.1978); Yessenin-Volpin v. Novosti Press Agency, 443 F. Supp. 849, 851 (S.D.N.Y.1978).

 The initial inquiry to be made is whether the entities sued in this case may be classified as foreign states within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1603, entitling them to invoke the ...


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