In Yousuf v. Samantar, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which protects foreign states and their agencies or instrumentalities from suits in U.S. courts, does not extend immunity to individual foreign officers acting within the scope of their official state duties. The Fourth Circuit reached this holding by erroneously concluding that individual foreign officers do not fall within the definition of agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state for purposes of the FSIA. The court improperly strayed from the circuit majority view on sovereign immunity and ignored legislative intent, thereby clouding this area of law, politicizing immunity decisions, and thickening district court dockets.
Elizabeth Mills Viney, Foreign Sovereign Immunity – Fourth Circuit Disregards Congressional Intent by Holding That the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Does Not Apply to Individuals Acting within the Scope of Their Official Duties, 63 SMU L. Rev. 265 (2010)