Arent Fox Secures Dismissal of Suit Against the Greek Government

Washington, DC — On July 11, a federal court granted a motion to dismiss filed by Arent Fox LLP on behalf of the Government of Greece in a case relating to the alleged mishandling of the body of a deceased US Marine guard in Athens, Greece.

In its ruling, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that the Marine’s family failed to establish an exception to immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that would have permitted to Court to take jurisdiction over the case.

The Arent Fox team of International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution partners Timothy J. Feighery and Ralph A. Taylor and associate Jennifer A. Fischer represented the Greek Government.

“We are pleased the Court agreed with our argument that none of the activities alleged by plaintiffs as carried on by the Government of Greece in the United States were sufficient to invoke jurisdiction over Greece on the basis of the commercial activities exception to immunity,” said Mr. Feighery. “The bottom line is that the Court does not have jurisdiction over the sovereign Government of Greece under the FSIA.”

In its ruling, the Court wrote that “the activity the plaintiffs allege simply is not commercial” and that, “[t]he essence of the restrictive theory of sovereign immunity embodied in the Tate Letter and now the FSIA is that a sovereign is liable only with respect to private acts, and the commercial activity requirement is at the heart of this analysis.”

Arent Fox is a “go to” firm in the area of international arbitration and dispute resolution for its work representing foreign sovereigns, contracting parties, and investors in cross-border disputes. Our lawyers have significant experience in state-to-state disputes, investor-state arbitration, and international commercial arbitration involving bilateral investment treaties, free trade agreements, multilateral and regional regimes, and private contracts. The firm regularly advises clients — both sovereigns and private entities — on international investment and trade issues, and conducts arbitrations across major industries, including energy, reinsurance, agriculture, intellectual property, telecommunications, and infrastructure.

About Arent Fox
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and the law intersect. With more than 400 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to a global roster of corporations, governments, and trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

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