Urdu Document Translation Issues
Do Not Lead to Dismissal of Case
Between Urdu Speaking Parties

Court Finds Defendants Failed to
Establish Need for
Urdu Court Translators and Interpreters

Urdu to English Legal Interpreting Services

Urdu document translation issues, similarly to other foreign language legal document translation issues, often come up in cases involving foreign-born litigants.  In Akbar v. Bangash, the plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit suit alleging that the defendants solicited the plaintiffs’ investment in the building of hospital facilities in Islamabad, Pakistan but that the shares they received in return were “worthless.” One of the defendants was a dual citizen of the U.S. and of Pakistan and was CEO of an investment company located in Pakistan. At the time of the lawsuit, defendant Bagash also resided in Pakistan.

After receiving the lawsuit, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s lawsuit should be dismissed for several reasons, including foreign language translation issues. Specifically, the defendants argued that each individual plaintiff and defendant were from Pakistan and spoke Urdu and that that defendant Bangash and the investors spoke Urdu during almost every conversation relevant to the lawsuit. Consequently, the defendants argued, it would be impossible to try the case in Michigan because it would require an interpreter to translate “every piece of evidence and every word of testimony.”

The plaintiffs countered with the fact that both they and the defendants spoke fluent English. As to defendant Bangash, the plaintiffs explained that Dr. Bangash practiced medicine in Michigan for five years and spoke English. The plaintiffs also argued that it is easy to obtain Urdu translators in Michigan. The defendants did not dispute any of these arguments.

In considering the defendants’ arguments in support of their motion to dismiss, the court noted that although it might have appeared that there was a practical problem in trying the case because the defendants represented that they speak Urdu, the defendants did not say that they were unable to speak English, nor did they claim that the trial testimony would be in Urdu.

The court also found that the defendants had never demonstrated that the pertinent documents relevant to the case were not in English. The parties had also failed to discuss the possible cost of translating the documents from Urdu into English or estimate the number of documents that would require translation. Accordingly, the court found that the defendants had failed to meet their burden of demonstrating the grounds for dismissal of the lawsuit.

The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that “Pakistani law” applied to the plaintiffs’ claims. Specifically, the defendants argued that the subject contracts were made in Pakistan, that the contracts were to be performed in Pakistan, that the money invested was to be used for a hospital in Islamabad, and that the plaintiffs’ injuries occurred overseas. The court, however, held that the plaintiffs’ loss of investment money occurred in Michigan and further held that defendant misrepresentations, which was the act that caused the injury, occurred during meetings which took place in Michigan. The court held that even though the investment centered around a construction project in Pakistan, the relationship between the two players “centered on their meetings and discussions of the investment agreement, all of which took place in Michigan.” Accordingly, the court ruled that the defendants had failed to overcome the presumption that Michigan law applied to the plaintiffs’ claims.

The case is A. Nisar Akbar, et al. v. Shaukat Bangash, et al., 15 cv 12688. It is currently pending in the U.S. District Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

Contact All Language Alliance, Inc. to retain Urdu deposition interpreters and to inquire about Urdu legal translation.

 

Up Next: Legal Interpreter Services in Depositions
and Court Proceedings