Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation is a case involving Nazi-looted art and implicating the laws of three foreign countries (Germany, Switzerland, and Spain) and two U.S. States (California and New York). Litigation began in 2006 and has already produced nineteen decisions by lower federal courts and three by the Supreme Court. This 2022 decision is the latest, but by no means the last.
The Supreme Court unanimously held that, in adjudicating state-law claims against a foreign state or instrumentality under one of the exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq., a federal court must apply the choice-of-law rules of the forum state rather than federal choice-of-law rules. In so holding, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision and resolved the split between that Circuit and the Second, Fifth, Sixth, and D.C. Circuits.