American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396, 10 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 396 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

Germany, see Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Sept. 12, 1990, 1696 U. N. T. S. 124, was read by the German courts as lifting the London Debt Agreement's moratorium on Holocaust claims by foreign nationals, class-action lawsuits for restitution poured into United States courts against companies doing business in Germany during the Nazi era. See Neuborne, supra, at 796, n. 2, 813-814; see generally Bazyler, Nuremberg in America: Litigating the Holocaust in United States Courts, 34 Rich. L. Rev. 1 (2000) (describing the flood of lawsuits after 1996).

These suits generated much protest by the defendant companies and their governments, to the point that the Government of the United States took action to try to resolve "the last great compensation related negotiation arising out of World War II." SER 940 (press briefing by Deputy Secretary of Treasury Eizenstat); see S. Eizenstat, Imperfect Justice 208-212 (2003). From the beginning, the Government's position, represented principally by Under Secretary of State (later Deputy Treasury Secretary) Stuart Eizenstat, stressed mediated settlement "as an alternative to endless litigation" promising little relief to aging Holocaust survivors. SER 953 (press conference by Secretary of State Albright). Ensuing negotiations at the national level produced the German Foundation Agreement, signed by President Clinton and German Chancellor Schröder in July 2000, in which Germany agreed to enact legislation establishing a foundation funded with 10 billion deutsch marks contributed equally by the German Government and German companies, to be used to compensate all those "who suffered at the hands of German companies during the National Socialist era." Agreement Concerning the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future," 39 Int'l Legal Materials 1298 (2000).

The willingness of the Germans to create a voluntary compensation fund was conditioned on some expectation of security from lawsuits in United States courts, and after


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