Foreign Language Translations for Antitrust Attorneys, and International Antitrust Law

Antitrust Document Translation Services

Legal translation and interpreting services play an important role in antitrust litigation.  According to the US Supreme Court, US courts do not have jurisdiction over lawsuits brought by foreigners for antitrust injuries sustained abroad. The major reasoning for this decision was to prevent plaintiffs from “shopping around” for a proper forum and to “protect amnesty programs”.  In the case, the plaintiff claimed jurisdiction due to the interdependence between “foreign and domestic harms”. Specifically, in its decision, the Court held that US courts do not have jurisdiction “where the plaintiff’s claim rests solely on the independent foreign harm.” F. Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd. v. Empagran S.A. 542 US 155 (2004).

However, this ruling does not state that antitrust law cannot be applied extraterritorially. In fact, according to another decision, it was held that foreign participants in an international cartel could be prosecuted under American antitrust laws when their activities (1) were intended to affect domestic commerce and (2) did affect domestic commerce. United States v. Alcoa, 148 F.2d 416 (2d Cir. 1945).

Thus, when bringing an international antitrust case against a cartel, it must be drawn up  to meet the Alcoa effects test while not going so far as resting solely on the independent foreign harm. So where’s the line? On one hand, an argument can be made that due to the international commerce of a drug cartel, the actions did intend to affect domestic commerce and thus not be an independent foreign harm. On the other hand, when none of the actions occurred within the US and the foreign jurisdiction has its own antitrust law, then an Empagran argument can be raised. To understand where this fine legal line may be drawn, it is essential to obtain foreign language translations of the laws of all the potential jurisdictions – along with witness testimony and evidence with the help of court translators.



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