Summary of Part III

AuthorErnesto Sanchez
(1) Subject matter jurisdiction refers to a court ’s authority to hear and resolve a particular
(2) Subject to existing international agreements, the FSIA bars federal and state courts from
exercising subject matter jurisdiction over an entity qualifying as a “foreign state” under
the statute when that “foreign state” is entitled to immunity from such jurisdiction unless
specically enumerated exceptions apply.
(A) A court can exercise subject matter jurisdiction under the FSIA regardless of the
dollar amount in controversy.
(B) Unless otherwise specied, the FSIA applies retroactively to acts that occurred prior
to its enactment.
(C) e FSIA governs proceedings with multiple plaintis and defendants only with
respect to those plaintis and defendants it classies as “foreign states.”
(D) Federal jurisdiction will exist with respect to all parties in an FSIA lawsuit, and
not just a party qualifying as a “foreign state,” where minimal diversity among all
adverse parties or an independent basis for jurisdiction over pendent parties exists.
(E) At the jurisdictional phase of a proceeding, discovery and fact-nding should be
limited to the essentials necessary to determining whether the FSIA will allow U.S.
courts to exercise subject matter jurisdiction.
(F) Notwithstanding the FSIA, preexisting international agreements can expand or
restrict a foreign sovereign defendant’s amenability to suit.
(G) Presuming the truth of a complaint s factual allegations and drawing reasonable
inferences in plaintis’ favor, federal appellate courts review the legal conclusions
behind dismissals for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the FSIA de novo
(i.e., anew), but review any accompanying factual ndings for clear error. ey can
arm or reverse a lower court decision on any ground supported by the record,
whether the lower court mentioned the ground or not.
(H) Appellate courts also view denials of subject matter jurisdiction dismissal motions
under the FSIA as immediately appealable under the collateral order doctrine,
which allows appeals from interlocutory orders that do not aect a case’s merits,
but that would be eectively unreviewable after a nal judgment.
(3) Legal actions under the FSIA must t within one of the following exceptions to immu-
nity from subject matter jurisdiction established by the statute or other applicable law.
(A) Explicit or implicit waivers of foreign sovereign immunity.
ForSovImmunAct_book.indb 233 4/11/13 3:32 PM

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