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
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
"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 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
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