WASHINGTON, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In a landmark ruling today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States (Chabad) may pursue its claims in a U.S. federal court against the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication, the Russian State Library, and the Russian State Military Archive to recover a collection of sacred religious books and archives. The D.C. Circuit held that a U.S. federal court has jurisdiction over Chabad's claims to recover an archive of sacred books and manuscripts which were stolen by the Nazis during World War II and then taken by the Soviet Red Army to Moscow in 1945 in violation of international law. In addition, the D.C. Circuit cleared the way for Chabad to pursue its claims against the Russian Federation to recover a library of sacred, irreplaceable religious books which were seized by the Soviets during the Bolshevik Revolution and then retaken by the newly formed Russian Federation in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. "This is a landmark ruling," said Marshall Grossman, a partner in Bingham McCutchen's Santa Monica office, who represents Chabad with Bingham partners Seth Gerber in Santa Monica and David Salmons in Washington, D.C. "We hope and pray that the Russian government will respect it." In addition to the Bingham team, Chabad is represented by Washington attorneys Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP, and Wm. Bradford Reynolds of Howrey, LLP. "The Court of Appeals' decision clears the way for the Russian government to correct a historic wrong that its predecessors have committed against the Jewish community. We can only hope that the current Russian authorities will now fulfill the assurances that were made to Chabad representatives and to United States officials after the Soviet state was replaced with the Russian Federation. It should not be necessary to engage in extended litigation for the Chabad community, headquartered today in the United States, to recover what rightfully belongs to it," added Nathan Lewin. "This is a historic victory for the Rebbe and for all people of faith and freedom. These sacred books and manuscripts contain the souls of our Rebbes, and of their countless followers who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi and Soviet regimes. We hope and pray the Russian government of today will now fulfill its moral and legal obligations to return these sacred texts, " said Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Eliyohu Cunin of Agudas Chasidei Chabad. Chabad is headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y., with more than 3,000 international branches; it is the largest Jewish organization in the world today. On November 9, 2004, Chabad filed its lawsuit against the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication, the Russian State Library, and the Russian State Military Archive, asserting violations of international law and seeking the return of its collection of sacred, irreplaceable religious books and manuscripts. Bingham McCutchen LLP -- www.bingham.com -- is a national law firm with global capabilities, with nearly 1,000 attorneys in 13 offices. The firm represents clients in cross-border restructurings and insolvencies, high- stakes litigation, complex financing and regulatory matters, government affairs, and a wide variety of sophisticated corporate and technology transactions. Based in Washington, D.C., Lewin & Lewin LLP specializes in Supreme Court and federal appellate litigation and is available for consultation by lawyers and clients in complex criminal and civil matters in federal courts. Lewin & Lewin also represents clients and assists attorneys in relations with federal legislative, executive and administrative agencies. Founded in 1956, Howrey LLP is a global law firm with over 700 attorneys and more than 50 economic, financial, and regulatory consultants. Howrey has offices in Washington, D.C.; Northern Virginia; Houston, Texas; New York, New York; Los Angeles, Irvine, East Palo Alto and San Francisco, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Chicago, Illinois; London, England; Brussels, Belgium; Paris, France; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Munich, Germany; Madrid, Spain and Taipei, Taiwan.
SOURCE Bingham McCutchen LLP