McKool Smith Wins Ninth Circuit Appeal in Romania Expropriation Case

LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — 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 ruled the expropriation exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

“Our clients are thrilled with the Ninth Circuit ruling,” says McKool Smith Principal Lee Crawford Boyd, who is an expert in international expropriation law, and who serves as lead counsel to the brothers. “After 71 years, they are confident that they will prevail and be compensated for the theft of their family’s business.”

McKool Smith Principal Thomas Watson is counsel with Ms. Boyd for the Sukyases.

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.

With more than 165 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured eleven nine-figure jury verdicts and twelve eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” over the last ten years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, insurance recovery, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.

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