McKool Smith secured a victory for its clients Jak Sukyas and Edward Sukyas against the country of Romania and the Romanian state-owned RADEF Romania Film when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a summary judgment ruling dismissing the Sukyases’ case.
Jak Sukyas and Edward Sukyas, who are brothers, seek compensation for an expropriation in violation of international law. In 1948, the communist Romanian government seized the Sukyases’ family film company, Cinegrafia Română, which distributed American films and which is still in operation today under the name RADEF Romania Film. After the end of communism, the brothers sought compensation for the wrongful taking of their family’s company in Romania, including through the Romanian court system, but they were unsuccessful.
The brothers turned to the U.S. courts for redress because RADEF Romania Film continues to license U.S. films for distribution. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, however, granted summary judgment in favor of Romania and RADEF Romania Film for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling that the expropriation exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act did not apply, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.
The case is Jak Sukyas and Edward Sukyas v. Romania and RADEF Romania Film, case number 17-56557, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and case number 2:15-cv-01946-FMO-JC, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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