US Court dismisses Glenn Godfrey’s Case Against Government of Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:00

Glenn GodfreyBelmopan. April 2nd, 2013.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has dismissed a case brought by GDG Acquisitions LLC, a company belonging to Glenn D. Godfrey, against the Government of Belize for alleged breach of a Master Lease Agreement, purported to have been signed between a Belizean company, International Telecommunications Limited (“INTELCO”), and the then Minister of Budget Management, in 2002.

GDG Acquisitions claimed that it had acquired all the rights under the said Master Lease Agreement by way of an assignment from INTELCO. In response, the Government of Belize filed a “Motion to Dismiss the Complaint” on the ground, among others, that Florida was an inconvenient forum for the litigation of this matter, as the subject matter and the witnesses were located in Belize. The Government of Belize also disputed the validity of the Master Lease Agreement on the ground that it was signed by a Minister who lacked the constitutional authority to enter into telecommunications agreements on behalf of the Government of Belize. Belize therefore argued that GDG’s claim should be dismissed under the principle of international comity as it would involve interpretation of the Belize constitution and other laws which were essentially matters for the Belizean courts.

The US District Court upheld Belize’s objections and dismissed GDG’s complaint. The Court found that this was a case in which the interests of Belize far outweighed the interests of the United States, as the Belizean court system would have a strong  interest in ensuring that its national laws were properly interpreted and applied. The Court ruled that Belize provided an adequate alternate forum to litigate this matter and that the Plaintiff GDG could reinstate its case in Belize.

In this action, Belize was represented by the US law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP. The claim was for some US$10 Million plus interest.