International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced today that on June 1, 2015, a team of its lawyers won an important victory for its client the Republic of Honduras before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Byrd, et al. v. Corporacion Forestal y Industrial de Olancho (“Corfino”), No. 13-3794-cv. In a summary order issued just 10 days after oral argument, the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision to vacate a prior order holding that Honduras was the successor-in-interest to Corfino. The decision shuts the door on the plaintiffs’ attempts to hold Honduras liable for a default judgment now worth more than $200 million against Corfino, a private Honduran corporation.

In late 2013, plaintiffs attempted to use Section 1610(c) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) to obtain an order finding Honduras liable for Corfino’s judgment debt. Although the district court initially issued the order, it ultimately decided to vacate its own order after having the benefit of briefing from Honduras.

On appeal, plaintiffs continued to claim that Honduras should be treated as the successor-in-interest to Corfino. The Second Circuit rejected these arguments, finding that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that Honduras had assumed Corfino's debts or should otherwise be treated as Corfino’s successor.

The Dorsey team was led by partner Juan C. Basombrio, who also argued the appeal, with the assistance of partner Mark S. Sullivan and associates Jonathan Montcalm and Katherine Santon.