Home Pissarro in the Courts: Foreign Sovereign Immunity Update 2022

    Pissarro in the Courts: Foreign Sovereign Immunity Update 2022

    The Washington Foreign Law Society


    Pissarro in the Courts: Foreign Sovereign Immunity Update 2022

    Tuesday, May 10, 2022

    From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. EDT

    – This event is co-sponsored by ASIL, the American Society of International Law –   .       

    “From the Lady in Gold (Republic of Austria v. Altmann, 541 U.S. 677 (2004)) to the Guelph Treasure (Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, 141 S. Ct. 703 (2021)), claims to cultural property stolen by the Nazis during World War II have driven much of the jurisprudence under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).  A number of these cases have been pending for more than a decade. This year, we have significant new decisions in cases involving Pissarro (Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, No. 20-1566 (U.S.)) and the fabulous Herzog collection (De Csepel v. Republic of Hungary, 2022 WL 678076 (D.C. Cir. 2022)).

    The Panel will discuss current issues in FSIA litigation, including

    (1) the extraterritorial reach of U.S. jurisdiction, e.g., choice of law, foreign discovery and turn-over orders, and

    (2) the balance between private rights and foreign relations in recent FSIA cases.

    Mark Feldman will provide a drafter’s view of what the courts have done with the Act.  Peter Gutherie will present the State Department perspective, and Sally Pei will address the experience of foreign states and other litigants with this complex statutory regime.” The discussion will be moderated by Giuliana Canè.

    Mark B. Feldman teaches foreign relations law at Georgetown.  As Deputy and Acting Legal Adviser (1974-81), Professor Feldman played a major role in drafting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Iran Claims Agreement.  He negotiated the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property as well as U.S. maritime boundaries with Canada, Cuba and Mexico.  Professor Feldman issued the first State Department suggestion of immunity for a foreign official in 1976 and initiated the 1967 Alaska Treaty line as the maritime boundary with Russia. In private practice, Professor Feldman established the treaty exception to the federal act of state doctrine in the Kalamazoo Spice cases and chaired the ABA committee responsible for the 1988 amendments to the FSIA, including the arbitration exception. He advised Disney on arbitration procedures for its Park near Paris, and argued for the United States in the Gulf of Maine case at the ICJ. His work, publications and Congressional testimony are described at http://www.markfeldmaninternationallaw.com/new-page-2.

    Peter Gutherie is an attorney adviser in the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser.  He currently serves in the Office of for Diplomatic Law & Litigation.  He joined the Legal Adviser’s Office in 2004 and has developed expertise in a wide range of domestic and international law issues, including appropriations law, international law enforcement matters, counter-terrorism law, State Department authorities and legislation, and now diplomatic law.  Originally from rural Georgia, Mr. Gutherie is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.) and New York University (J.D.).

    Sally Pei is a senior associate in Arnold & Porter’s Appellate and Supreme Court group. Her practice spans a broad range of subject areas, with a particular focus on transnational disputes and foreign sovereign immunity. Ms. Pei has been the principal brief-writer in numerous cases in federal and state courts, including the Supreme Court and has argued before the Sixth and Ninth Circuits. Before joining Arnold & Porter, Ms. Pei was a law clerk to the Honorable William A. Fletcher (Ninth Circuit) and served as a Legal Adviser to Judge O. Thomas Johnson at the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. Ms. Pei received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal and Yale Journal of International Law and received the Jerome Sayles Hess Fund Prize for excellence in the area of international law.

    Moderator: Giuliana Cane. Giuliana Canè, an Italian national, has been appointed by the IDB Board of Executive Directors to serve as the new Executive Secretary of the IDB Group Administrative Tribunal and she took position on January 19, 2016. Ms. Canè joined the IDB from the World Bank where most recently she was Legal Counsel in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Previously, she worked for in various departments of the World Bank Group, including the Investment Climate Advisory Service and the Legal Department (2010-2014 and 2004-2007). Prior to rejoining the World Bank, she worked at the Italian Prime Minister’s Office where she was in charge of the Investment Chapter of the G8 Italian Presidency (2008-2009). She began her legal career with the law firm Baker & McKenzie in Rome (2001 – 2002). Ms. Canè holds degrees from Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. in International Legal Studies), the College of Europe in Bruges (Master in Law in European legal studies), and LUISS-Guido Carli University, Rome, Italy (Laurea in Giurisprudenza). She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, the District of Columbia (inactive) and in Italy (inactive).


    1. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-1566_l5gm.pdf