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Swarna v. Al-Awadi, No. 09-2525

By FindLaw Staff on September 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Swarna v. Al-Awadi, No. 09-2525, defendants' appeal from interlocutory orders and cross-appeal from a final judgment, granting plaintiff's motion for default judgment based on various claims based on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and New York labor laws, dismissing plaintiff's claims against defendant-Kuwait on sovereign immunity grounds, and denying plaintiff's and defendants' motions for reconsideration, the court affirmed the orders in part where, while residual diplomatic immunity applied to the "acts performed by such a person in the exercise of his functions as a member of the mission," Vienna Convention art. 39(2), it did not apply to actions that pertained to his household or personal life and that may provide, at best, "an indirect" rather than a "direct . . . benefit to" diplomatic functions.  However, the court vacated in part where plaintiff's ATCA claims "arose from personal motives" and were outside the diplomats' scope of employment with Kuwait.

As the court wrote:  "Defendants-appellants Badar Al-Awadi ("Al-Awadi") and his wife Halal Muhammad Al-Shaitan ("Al-Shaitan," or, together with Al-Awadi, the "individual defendants") appeal from interlocutory orders entered on March 20, 2009, and May 29, 2009, and plaintiff appellee-cross-appellant Vishranthamma Swarna ("Swarna") cross-appeals from a final judgment entered on July 24, 2009, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Castel, J.). The District Court granted Swarna's motion for default judgment against the individual defendants for claims brought pursuant to the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, alleging trafficking, involuntary servitude, forced labor, assault, and sexual abuse (the "ATCA claims"), and for claims brought pursuant to New York State law, alleging fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and failure to pay legally required wages (the "state law claims")."

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