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Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil

Brief Fact Summary. When the Soviet government sold oil property confiscated from Russian nationals, Salimoff (P) claimed that the Soviet government did not have good title to pass.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. No recovery in tort can be had in any other state when no right of action is created at the place of the wrong.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

When a foreign government is recognized as the de jure government of the country in which it is established, such recognition is retroactive in effect and validates all the actions and conduct of the government so recognized from the commencement of its existence.

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Facts. The equitable owner of oil property that had been seized by a nationalization decree and confiscated by the Soviet government in Russia was Salimoff (P). salimoff sought an accounting when the Soviet government sold oil extracted from the property to Standard Oil (D), alleging that the confiscatory decrees by the unrecognized Soviet government had no legal effect. Salimoff (P) appealed when his complaint was dismissed.

Issue. Can recovery in tort be had in any other state when no right of action is created at the place of the wrong?

Held. (Pound, C.J). No. No recovery in tort can be had in any other state when no right of action is created at the place of the wrong. A de facto government cannot be denied recognition by the court just because the State Department has not recognized the Soviet government as a de jure government. Affirmed.

Discussion. The claim of Salimoff (P) was that the Soviet government had no legitimacy and was a band of robbers. To this claim, the court rhetorically asked whether Soviet Russia was a band of robbers or a government. Everyone knows it is a government, according to this court.


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