You’re an American citizen of Afghan-Uzbek extract who operated the Uzbekistan bottler for the Coca-Cola Company through your family’s company. Uzbekistan is considered one of the most oppressive nations on earth. You meet the daughter of the country’s dictator and get married. Ten years later. this is what happened to Mansur Maqsudi:
After the marriage collapsed in 2001, Maqsudi says, his family in Uzbekistan was deposited on the Afghan border, while his children were spirited from New Jersey to Tashkent, the Uzbeki capital. He also claims that Uzbekistan effectively seized his share of the bottling business and transferred control to a Swiss company in which his ex-wife has a significant interest. Coca-Cola, according to Maqsudi, went along for fear of angering the Karimov clan. Both Coca-Cola and Karimova deny Maqsudi’s allegations.
So what to do?
The lawyer whom Maqsudi retained to recover his investment — Stuart Newberger of— had no obvious course of action. He could not sue Uzbekistan directly, because the nation had never signed an investment treaty with the United States. He could sue Coca-Cola for conniving in the vendetta, under the arbitration agreement signed by the members of the bottling joint venture — but it would be tough to implicate Coke without a broad U.S.-style discovery expedition. Newberger found an explosive solution in a quiet nook of federal procedure, 28 U.S.C. 1782.
The case is still proceeding and will likely be determined in arbitration.