October 14th – The Turn Toward Unilateralism in American Choice of Law, by Hannah Buxbaum

FRIDAY 14th October 2016, Prof. Hannah Buxbaum (Maurer School of Law, Indiana University)

In 2000, the European Community filed a lawsuit against RJR Nabisco (RJR) in U.S. federal court, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). After more than fifteen years and a number of intermediate judicial decisions, the litigation came to its likely close in 2016 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community. The Court concluded that certain provisions of RICO did apply to foreign conduct. However, it went on to hold that RICO’s private cause of action does not extend to claims based on injuries suffered outside the United States, denying the European Community any recovery.

This talk will use the RJR case as a springboard to consider a broader trend in the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence, which is to rely exclusively on the “presumption against extraterritoriality,” a tool of statutory interpretation, to resolve international jurisdictional conflicts. This jurisprudence turns away from a broader “reasonableness” analysis, and thus away from a multilateral approach, in considering questions of legislative jurisdiction. It finds an interesting echo in the current draft of the Restatement (Third) of Conflicts, which introduces a form of analysis focused on determining the scope of potentially applicable laws. These trends invite the question whether American conflicts law is taking a turn toward a more unilateral methodology.

  • Discussant: Jeremy Heymann (Professeur à l’Université de Lyon)

When? Friday 14 October, 14:30 – 17:30

Where? at Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’université, 75007, Paris, salle de réunion (4th floor)