UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
December 1, 1967
HELLENIC LINES, LIMITED, Plaintiff,
The EMBASSY OF SOUTH VIET NAM, COMMERICAL DIVISION, and the Republic of South Viet Nam, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN
EDELSTEIN, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Hellenic Lines, Limited, filed a complaint on March 1, 1967, in this court complaining that defendants, The Embassy of South Viet Nam, Commercial Division, and the Republic of South Viet Nam, are liable to plaintiff for delay in unloading plaintiff's vessel on a shipment of commodities which arrived in Saigon. In order to obtain jurisdiction over the defendants, plaintiff caused a process of maritime attachment and garnishment to be issued. The garnishee, First National City Bank, stated in its amended answer to the process of maritime attachment and garnishment,
filed April 10, 1967, that a time deposit in excess of $128,510.90 was maintained at the bank in the name of Banque Nationale du Viet Nam. The United States Attorney, at the direction of the Attorney General, pursuant to a request by the Secretary of State, filed, on August 8, 1967, a suggestion of immunity from suit and from execution or attachment. This is a motion for an order vacating the process of maritime attachment and garnishment, dissolving the attachment and dismissing the action. The doctrine of sovereign immunity clearly applicable to the case at bar impels to the granting of the motion:
"That principle is that courts may not so exercise their jurisdiction, by the seizure and detention of the property of a friendly sovereign, as to embarrass the executive arm of the government in conducting foreign relations. 'In such cases the judicial department of this government follows the action of the political branch and will not embarrass the latter by assuming an antagonistic jurisdiction.' United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196, 209, 1 S. Ct. 240, 251, 27 L. Ed. 171." Ex Parte Republic of Peru, 318 U.S. 578, 588, 63 S. Ct. 793, 87 L. Ed. 1014 (1943).
See also New York & Cuba Mail S.S. Co. v. Republic of Korea, 132 F. Supp. 684 (S.D.N.Y.1955). The cases cited by plaintiff in its memorandum are so patently inapposite to the situation at hand as to make any further discussion unnecessary.
This motion is granted.
Settle order on notice.