Frank v. Commonwealth of Antigua and Barbuda, No. 15-10717 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
These consolidated cases involve Antigua and its alleged involvement with the Stanford Ponzi scheme. Antigua, as a foreign nation, challenged the district court’s jurisdiction in each suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1604. The district court determined that it had jurisdiction over the suits under both the commercial activity and waiver exceptions of the FSIA. This appeal involves the third clause of the commercial activity exception. Because the court found that Antigua’s actions did not cause a “direct effect” in the United States, the court need not consider the other elements of the commercial activity exception’s third clause. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's holding that the commercial activity exception applies. Although Antigua contests the merits of the district court’s waiver ruling, Antigua does not contest the application of the commercial activity exception to OSIC’s breach of contract claims. As such, OSIC’s breach of contract claims will proceed under the commercial activity exception regardless of whether the court overturns the district court’s holding on the waiver exception. The court also concluded that the district court has already provided Antigua with the relief it seeks on appeal, and thus declined to further address the scope of the district court’s waiver ruling. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and remanded in part.