Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Products Liability
Walters v. Indus. & Commercial Bank of China, Ltd.
Plaintiffs Debbie and Max Walters appealed from a district court judgment that dismissed their petition for the issuance of a turnover order. In 1990, the Walters' thirteen-year-old son was killed on a hunting trip with his father when a Chinese-manufactured rifle the boy carried allegedly misfired. The Walters sued China and several entities allegedly controlled by China in the U.S. District Court on theories of products liability, negligence, and breach of warranty in connection with the manufacture of the rifle. The Walters eventually won a $10 million default judgment, and sought to enforce it by collecting China's assets in the possession of the respondent banks, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ltd., Bank of China, Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corporation. Citing the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), the district court dismissed the petition with prejudice. Without filing a new petition, the Walters argued on appeal that the Banks lacked standing to assert foreign sovereign immunity on behalf of China, and that China waived any immunity by its conduct underlying the default judgment and by its failure to appear. Upon review of the submitted briefs and the applicable legal authority, the Second Circuit found Plaintiffs' arguments were without merit, and affirmed the district court's decision to dismiss their case.