Legal Translation Services for FSIA Lawsuits

Korean Translation for FSIA Lawsuit Against North Korea

Korean translation services play an important role in FSIA lawsuits against North Korea. Doe v. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 414 F. Supp. 3d 109 (D.C. 2019) is a unique case in the sense that the defendant is the authoritarian sovereign country North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The facts of the case date back to 1968 when 82 United States servicemen were kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by North Korean agents. Specifically, 82 American servicemen were held hostage by the North Korean government and suffered from beatings, starvation, sleep deprivation, etc. The servicemen, their families and their estates then brought a suit against North Korea, seeking money damages for the personal injuries perpetrated onto them by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The suit was brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The FSIA entitles plaintiffs to recovery of punitive damages from foreign state sponsors of terrorism.

Document Translations for Suing a Foreign State in U.S. Court

Generally speaking, foreign states are immune from private litigation in U.S. Courts. However, there is an exception to this rule, provided by the FSIA. The relevant exception in this case was the “state sponsored exception.” This exception abrogates the immunity generally afforded to foreign states. Under this exception a U.S. court will have jurisdiction when money damages are sought from a foreign state for personal injury or death, or caused by “an act of torture, extrajudicial killing, aircraft sabotage, hostage taking, or the provision of material support or resources … for such an act.”

So when does this exception come into play? Or, in other words, when is a US Federal Court able to exercise jurisdiction over such a case? Firstly, the foreign state must be designated as a sponsor of terrorism. Secondly, the plaintiff must be a member of an accepted category, such as being the U.S. citizens. Finally, the plaintiff must have given the foreign state the opportunity to arbitrate the claims in compliance with the accepted international rules of arbitration. The burden is on the plaintiff to show the court that it can establish Jurisdiction over the defendant. Once the plaintiff meets his burden and the defendant fails to offer evidence in rebuttal, jurisdiction applies.

English to Korean Translation of Summons and Complaint

As with all the international litigation, the FSIA cases against foreign governments generate a need for accurate legal translation services. English documents need to be translated to Korean, and Korean documents need to be translated to English right from the outset. The FSIA also outlines different methods of effecting service upon the defendant. In this case, the plaintiffs effected service by mailing a copy of the Summons and Complaint and a notice of suit, to the defendants. As per this method the aforesaid documents must be translated into the official language of the foreign state, which in this case is Korean. The court was satisfied that proper service had been effected. The court also noted that the plaintiffs gave North Korea the opportunity to arbitrate the claims. The court noted that the plaintiffs sent an offer to arbitrate, along with an English to Korean translation, to the defendants. The plaintiffs subsequently moved for a default judgment which was ultimately granted, after the Plaintiff had met all the aforementioned burdens.

Get in touch with legal translation service All Language Alliance, Inc. to obtain English to Korean translation services for FSIA lawsuits against North Korea, or other countries, including certified translation of foreign statutes from any foreign language to English.

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