Policy Update

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear IFC Case

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Mon, Oct 1, 2018

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In October 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case Budha Jam et. al. v. IFC (International Finance Corporation). The case will interpret the validity of immunities of international organizations under the U.S. International Organizations Immunities Act (“IOIA”). The IOIA is a U.S. statute that provides international organizations in which the United States participates and are headquartered in the United States – such as the IFC – with broad immunity from suit in U.S. courts. The class action plaintiffs in this case filed their suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia based on the argument that IFC should be sued for damages in a U.S. court because it failed to ensure that a project in India, which it was a co-lender of, lived up to the IFC’s environmental standards. Although that lawsuit was dismissed by two courts below, the Supreme Court is now hearing the case on the basis of a circuit split among the U.S. courts of appeal as to interpretation of the IOIA. Several prominent Bretton Woods Committee Members, including the Honorables James A. Baker III, George Shultz, and Larry Summers, have joined other former U.S. Secretaries of State and U.S. Secretaries of Treasury in support of the IFC. Read their amicus brief below.