[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Monday in two cases. In Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital Ltd. [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on whether a hedge fund could subpoena banks for information about Argentina’s non-US assets following the country’s default on $100 billion in sovereign debt in 2002. The subpoenas were served in 2010 on Bank of America [corporate website] and Banco de la Nacion Argentina [corporate website, in Spanish], and sought documents relating to accounts or assets that Argentina might have at the banks. In August 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] rejected [JURIST report] Argentina’s attempt to prevent bondholders from acquiring bank documents regarding the country’s assets outside US territory, declaring that sovereign immunity was not an acceptable defense in this case. The Obama administration backed Argentina in the case. The Supreme Court’s ruling will resolve a split between the Second Circuit, and the Seventh, Fifth and Ninth Circuits, which have found that post-judgment subpoenas are potentially limited under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 [text].
In POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola [transcript, PDF], the court heard arguments on whether a rival company can file a federal suit to challenge a food or beverage label as misleading under the Lanham Act [text]. Pom Wonderful sued Coca-Cola Co. [corporate websites] for allegedly deceiving consumers about the amount of pomegranate juice in one of its beverages, labeled as “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices.” Pom Wonderful contends that the label is misleading because the beverage contains less than one percent of pomegranate juice or blueberry juice. A federal appeals court barred the suit saying that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] regulations authorize the beverage’s name. The court will determine whether the Lanham Act, which authorizes false-advertising suits, can apply to FDA regulated products.