Question: U S citizens who were descendants of victims of the
U. S. citizens who were descendants of victims of the Holocaust ( the mass murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II) in Europe filed a claim for breach of contract in the United States against an Italian insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali, S. P. A. (Generali). Before the Holocaust, the plaintiffs’ ancestors had purchased insurance policies from Generali, but Generali refused to pay them benefits under the policies. Due to certain agreements among nations after World War II, such lawsuits could not be filed for many years. In 2000, however, the United States agreed that Germany could establish a foundation— the International Commission on Holocaust- Era Insurance Claims, or ICHEIC— that would compensate victims who had suffered losses at the hands of the Germans during the war. Whenever a German company was sued in a U. S. court based on a Holocaust- era claim, the U. S. government would inform the court that the matter should be referred to the ICHEIC as the exclusive forum and remedy for the resolution. There was no such agreement with Italy, however, so the federal district court dismissed the suit. The plaintiffs appealed. Did the plaintiffs have to take their claim to the ICHEIC rather than sue in a U. S. court? Why or why not?
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