US court allows Boeing to pursue UK evidence, testimony
MOSCOW, January 21 (RAPSI, Ingrid Burke) - A US federal court approved on Friday an application by American aerospace and defense conglomerate Boeing to request compelled oral testimony and documentary evidence from the UK via the Hague Evidence Convention in its case involving the Sea Launch venture, according to court document obtained by RAPSI.
In February of 2013, plaintiffs The Boeing Company (Boeing) and subsidiary Boeing Commercial Space Company (BCSC) filed a complaint against Russian space giant Energia and Yuzhnoye SDO alleging breach of contract in connection with the 1995 establishment of Sea Launch, a joint venture created to facilitate the sea-based launch of commercial satellites.
Boeing seeks $355 million plus interest and legal fees.
In granting Boeing’s application for a letter of request pursuant to the Convention, the US court noted that the letter sought the following: “to require Mr. Dennis Shomko to provide oral testimony regarding the topics set forth in… the Letter of Request, and to require Avicon Partnership and Mr. Dennis Shomko to produce documents and things regarding the topics set forth in … the Letter of Request.”
Avicon is described by its website as a business and management consultancy geared toward the aerospace industry, specializing in: business analytics, transaction services, assets acquisition and management, and management consultancy.
A brief biography of a Dennis Shomko included in a series of 2012 articles featured on Avicon’s website describes him as a senior partner with the firm who had received an award in 2011 “for his efforts in reorganization of Sea Launch Company under Chapter 11.” According to his LinkedIn page, Shomko served as Executive Vice President of Business Development with Boeing – Sea Launch between October 2010 and March 2013, during the course of his time with Avicon.
His profile asserts among other things that while working with Boeing-Sea Launch, Shomko: “Transitioned [the] company to new business model following reorganisation under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code while supervising Licensing & Compliance Department and participating as member of Board of Directors.”
Boeing had filed its application for a Letter of Request for International Judicial Assistance Pursuant to the Hague Convention of 18 March 1970 on the Taking of Evidence in Civil or Commercial Matters, also known as the Hague Evidence Convention, which seeks to foster judicial cooperation between states parties.
According to an information sheet on the website of the Hague Conference of International Law (Hague Conference): “The Convention provides effective means of overcoming the differences between civil law and common law systems with respect to the taking of evidence.”
The judicial authorities in one state party to the Convention may issue a letter of request to a designated central authority in another state party.
According to the information sheet, the letter is then forwarded to the competent authority in the receiving state for execution. Notably, the law of the receiving state is applicable to the execution of such a request letter.
The order stipulates that Boeing’s Letter of Request will be signed and sealed by the court and then returned, at which point attorneys for the plaintiffs are expected to transmit the letter to the UK Central Authority, “for execution in conformity with the Hague Convention.”
The UK Central authority is listed on the Hague Conference website as the Foreign Process Section of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.