International Legal Issues:
The Current Debate over the Immunity of
Foreign Cultural Property from Suit in the United States


This program will present current issues concerning the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which codified the restrictive theory of sovereign immunity providing that a foreign state and its agencies and instrumentalities have only limited immunity from suit in the United States. Particularly within the context of cases involving stolen or looted art, the FSIA has recently been subject to new and important interpretations of the statute that have had the apparent effect of broadening the circumstances in which a foreign sovereign may be held to account in a U.S. Court.  The panelists will discuss the text and legislative history of the FSIA, and survey recent cases affecting its application.  The program will concentrate specifically on the FSIA's impact in stolen art cases, where U.S. plaintiffs endeavor to recover stolen or looted art from foreign countries by filing suit in the U.S. The complex historical facts often involved in such cases offer a particularly interesting and unique context for the application of the FSIA.

Eden Burgess:

Eden Burgess is an attorney with Andrews Kurth LLP in Washington, DC.  Her practice focuses on general litigation matters and related issues, primarily in the areas of art, intellectual property, environmental, contract, and commercial.  Ms. Burgess' art practice includes representation of restitution claimants and claim recipients, and has included individual, institution, and governmental clients.  Her intellectual property experience includes patent- and copyright-related cases, and her environmental litigation experience includes private contribution actions and brownfield redevelopment efforts. Ms. Burgess also has been active in alternative dispute resolution.  She obtained her B.A. in American Government as an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia, and received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. 

Mari-Claudia Jiménez

Mari-Claudia Jiménez is an associate with Herrick, Feinstein's Art Law practice group, in New York, where her work ranges from the representation of claimants seeking restitution of stolen or looted art works to counseling museums, art galleries, auction houses, dealers, artists, and collectors on a variety of art-related issues. As part of Herrick's Art Law group, Ms. Jiménez assisted Neue Galerie in connection with its acquisition of Gustav Klimt's 1907 portrait, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I", and represented the heir of Jacques Goudstikker, a prominent Jewish art dealer in The Netherlands who died while fleeing the Nazis, in the recent restitution by the Dutch Government of 200 Old Masters paintings looted by the Nazis.  Before joining Herrick, Ms. Jiménez obtained a Bachelor's degree in Art History from Williams College, and worked at a number of museums and auction houses.  She then obtained her Master's Degree in Cuban-American History and Relations from Fordham University Graduate School, and worked as a historical researcher for a number of documentary films on Cuba before receiving her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Cosponsored by:

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation
National Park Service


Date & Time:

Monday, October 8, 2007
4:00 pm




Washington College of Law
4801 Mass. Ave., NW
Room 603



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