1. How far does the FSIA immunity go? If one of Vance’s employees were ordered by Saudi officials to physically detain Butters and she was injured, would Vance still be protected by the FSIA against any liability resulting from Butters’ injury?
2. When the court states that the “FSIA immunity presupposes a tolerance for the sovereign decisions of other countries that may reflect legal norms and cultural values quite different from our own,” what legal norms and cultural values is it referring to?

Vance, a U.S. security company, was hired to augment the security provided for a member of the Saudi royal family while she was in California, whereby the Saudi military was responsible for all protection and Saudi officers supervised all security. Vance recommended to the Saudis that Butters, a woman employed by Vance, be promoted to serving a full rotation in the command post; however, the Saudi authorities rejected that recommendation based on the contention that the appointment of a woman for that post was unacceptable under Islamic law. Butters brought suit against Vance for gender discrimination in the loss of the promotion, Vance asserted immunity under the FSIA because they were carrying out orders of the Saudi government, and Butters countered that Vance fell under one of the exceptions to the FSIA because the company was engaged in a commercial activity.

  • CreatedNovember 06, 2014
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