Monday, January 13, 2020

Media Appearance: Book Chapter on Bridging the Divide - Moon Jae-in's Korean Peace Initiative

I was honored to be invited to contribute to this book by Dr. Chung-in Moon and Professor John Delury at Yonsei University. I have previously contributed book chapters for legal publications, but first time on a foreign policy book.

Here is my chapter.

Media Appearance: How to Impeach a President (in Korea) on Foreign Policy

A very belated happy new year and the new decade! It's been far too long on this blog, but one of my new year's resolutions is to pick up the blog once again, especially since Asia is becoming all the more important in US courts.

But first, a roundup of my media appearances from late last year. Here is one from October 10, 2019, as Congress impeached Donald Trump:
The South Korean experience offers two lessons for US liberals who wish to impeach and remove Donald Trump. The first lesson is: don’t lose hope. Many liberals despaired at the seemingly indestructible support for Trump. They fret that the Republican electorate is so emotionally committed to Trump that they will overlook any wrongdoing, while the Republican lawmakers are too cowardly to stand up against Trump. South Koreans liberals made the exact same charge until 2016, that Park Geun-hye’s “concrete floor” of support was too impenetrable and her hold over the Saenuri Party was too complete.

Fortunately, they were wrong. Both in case of South Korea and the US, the structure is never as strong as it seems. It erodes gradually, then falls apart suddenly. Since Pelosi began the impeachment inquiry, the popular support for removing Trump from office has been steadily rising. Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake predicted at least 35 Republican Senators would vote to remove Trump if the vote was anonymous. It is hardly outlandish to think the next outrageous action from Trump will finally cause the GOP to break with Trump. A straw may not look like much, but when placed on top of the right amount of load, it can break a camel’s back. 
How to Impeach a President (in Korea) [Foreign Policy]

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Case of the Day: Islamic Republic of Pakistan v. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61780 (D.D.C. Apr. 10, 2019)


The government of Pakistan petitioned to take discovery of a DC-based international law firm pursuant to 28 U.S.C. s. 1782, in order to obtain materials relevant to the corruption investigation of one of the law firm's clients, a Turkish company operating in Pakistan. In addition to the investigation, the Turkish corporation was involved in an investor-state arbitration against the government of Pakistan. The Turkish company resisted document production, the government lost the arbitration, and the government filed for annulment. The defendant law firm opposed, arguing the investigation was a bad faith, political harassment campaign.

The court largely rejected the defendant law firm's arguments. The court found the investor-state arbitration was sufficient grounds for 1782 discovery, and declined weigh the propriety of the Pakistani investigation. The court denied the request for production of the materials that the defendant claimed to not have, but ordered the defendant to respond to interrogatories asking where the materials are located.


What's remarkable is how this case is not all that different from any other 1782 discovery litigation, although the defendant is a law firm. There may be additional background that does not appear on the face of this opinion, but the law firm never attempted to raise any point about attorney client privilege.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Case of the Day: Cho v. Kim, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2603 (Tex. App. Apr. 2, 2019)


A group of Korean American investors sued one another over a failed joint investment project, which was a shopping center. The plaintiff sued for inter alia breach of fiduciary duty, lost, and appealed. The plaintiff-appellant claimed an informal fiduciary relationship existed, because Houston's Korean American community was tight-knit and Korea's hierarchical culture created an unusually close relationship based on trust.

The appellate court rejected the argument, noting "particularly in the business arena, trust and reliance alone are not sufficient ingredients to create a fiduciary relationship."


Well, that was a creative argument. As a Korean American myself, I'd say it was quite a bit of reach to claim the Korean culture creates a fiduciary relationship among business partners. But as Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Case of the Day: Vista Peak Ventures v. Giantplus Tech. Co., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144941 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 27, 2019)


Plaintiff served a Taiwanese defendant by mail with a registered mail, return receipt requested. Defendant moved to dismiss based on defective service, arguing Taiwanese law prohibits service by mailing a summons directly to the defendant.

The court rejected the argument, finding that Taiwanese law does not prohibit service of process by mail. The court also found that "mail received" stamp sufficed as a signature.


Taiwan always presents a tricky case because it is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. This decision seems a bit aggressive, but it certainly makes service of process in Taiwan easier.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Case of the Day: James v. Ifinex, Inc., Case No. 450545/2019 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Aug. 19, 2019)


Defendants are Bitfinex and Tether, major cryptocurrency companies based in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. New York attorney general investigated them for potential violation of the Martin Act, and the defendants challenged the personal and subject matter jurisdiction, as they consciously avoided New York contact in order to avoid being subject to such investigations.

The court rejected the defendants' arguments. The court found the defendants had sufficient New York contacts, as they allowed New York customers to access trading platform, opened accounts in New York bank and had an executive based in New York. The court also held Martin Act was applicable to the defendants, and documents located abroad were subject to discovery.


We are back from vacation!

The opinion is available here. The opinion itself is not surprising or radical--it is a standard application of the personal jurisdiction doctrine and Martin Act coverage. But because digital currency is new and the companies have consciously attempted to avoid New York contact, it makes for a notable news.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Media Appearance: "The Road Remains Open: Moon Jae-in's Berlin Speech as a Pathway to Peace" on GlobalAsia

This is a piece based on my presentation at the Yonsei University earlier this year:
But if the conclusion is that no deal for denuclearization is possible with North Korea, the only remaining options are a military conflict or continuation of the status quo. Neither is acceptable, because it invites a realistic risk of a nuclear war either in the immediate term (on the Korean Peninsula) or in the longer term (through North Korea’s nuclear proliferation). At any rate, the Hanoi summit showed that there indeed is a deal to be had if it can be agreed that the only realistic way forward is for both the US and North Korea to climb down from their maximalist positions and engage in a step-by-step exchange of denuclearization and sanctions relief. The trust-building process that the Berlin speech outlined with North Korea remains the best path forward, if only because all other paths lead to a blind alley.
The Road Remains Open: Moon Jae-in's Berlin Speech as a Pathway to Peace [GlobalAsia]

This paragraph basically sums up my thoughts on North Korea: if we accept that a nuclear war is not an option, we cannot stop diplomacy.