In his first argument before the Supreme Court of the United States since leaving the government, former U.S. Solicitor General and Munger, Tolles & Olson litigator Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. appeared on Oct. 31, 2018 on behalf of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The closely watched case involves the scope of immunity granted to international organizations under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA). A group of Indian nationals brought the initial claim alleging a power plant project financed by IFC loans damaged the surrounding environment.
Citing the IOIA, the IFC argued that it should receive immunity “as is enjoyed by foreign governments,” which, at the time Congress passed the law, did not include an exception for commercial activity. A D.C. federal court granted IFC’s bid for immunity and dismissed the lawsuit, a decision upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court. In May 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
In his oral argument, Mr. Verrilli said that the IOIA shields international organizations like the IFC from a flood of litigation. He argued that a decision for the plaintiffs’ “could easily result in a lot of disruption to the good work that these organizations do.”
A ruling in Jam et al. v. IFC is expected in early 2019.
Mr. Verrilli served as the government’s top appellate lawyer from June 2011 to June 2016 before joining Munger, Tolles & Olson to open its Washington, D.C. office.
In addition to Mr. Verrilli, the attorney team representing IFC includes Ginger D. Anders, Christopher M. Lynch, Adele M. El-Khouri and Jonathan S. Meltzer.