Bigio vs. Coca-Cola
Suit Charges Coca-Cola With Profiting From Seizure of Jewish Property in Egypt
NEW YORK, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Lawyers for the Bigio family, Jewish Egyptians whose property was seized by the Egyptian government in a 1960s program to rid the country of its Jewish population, are demanding summary judgment and a jury trial to establish damages against Coca-Cola for exploiting "for immense profit" property that Coca Cola has been occupying since 1994 with the knowledge that the property was taken unlawfully from the Bigios. In a brief filed today in federal district court, the Bigios - responding to the Court's request for supplemental briefing - spelled out the extensive web of international laws violated by the Nasser regime's anti-Jewish campaign which included the nationalization of the Bigios' property in 1962.
The Egyptian government has acknowledged that the property was seized illegally and rightfully belongs to the Bigios. A federal court of appeals has twice rejected technical jurisdictional contentions made by Coca-Cola. The case has been before the courts for 12 years.
"Coca-Cola is the occupier of stolen property," said attorneys for the Bigios. "Coca-Cola has been stonewalling for years, hiding behind a veil of artificial and inapplicable legalisms and it will now be able to respond to our latest brief only by denying that Egyptian Jews were persecuted by the Nasser regime. If it makes such an argument, Coca-Cola will be engaging in the same conduct as Holocaust deniers. Such flagrant behavior will not hold up in the court of public opinion. It is time for Coca-Cola to acknowledge that the property belongs to the Bigios, was unlawfully confiscated from them, and compensate them for its occupancy and use."
Coca-Cola was aware that the Bigios owned the land, buildings, business and machinery involved in this case because the two companies did business together for more than 20 years prior to the seizure of the properties under the ethnic cleansing campaign of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. In 1965, the Bigio family, left destitute by the seizure of their property and business, immigrated, as stateless persons, to Montreal where they now reside.
In 1994, after it was informed by the Bigio family of the Egyptian government's determination that the family owned the property, Coca-Cola took control of the property under various forms of ownership of Egyptian companies bearing the Coca-Cola name.
The Bigios filed a request for summary judgment September 14. Oral arguments were heard November 10. The letter brief responds to the judge's request for legal authority demonstrating that the Egyptian government's nationalization of the disputed property in 1962 violated international law.
The Bigios are represented by Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin of Lewin & Lewin LLP; and Sherrie R. Savett, Arthur M. Stock, Douglas M. Risen and Shoshana M. Savett of Berger & Montague, P.C.
Lewin & Lewin LLP
Lewin & Lewin specializes in federal appellate and trial litigation and consults with 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.
Berger & Montague, P.C.
Berger & Montague, founded in 1970, has more than 70 attorneys who concentrate their practice in complex litigation including human rights, antitrust, securities and investor fraud, commercial litigation, consumer protection, employee benefits/ERISA, employment, environmental and mass tort, insurance practices and whistleblower/qui tam.
SOURCE Berger & Montague, P.C.
"Family sues Coke over assets once seized by Egypt's anti-Jewish campaign" by Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, November 15, 2011
"...one case bringing light to the issue will be argued in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City between a Jewish family once bullied into emigrating from Egypt and the Coca-Cola Company which later bought part of a company sitting on the Jewish family's property. The property had years before been seized by the Egyptian government during an anti-Jewish campaign...
"One judge already fined Coca-Cola $15,725 for failing to respond to Bigio attorney discovery requests for information, according to family lawyers. The Bigios contend this is just one example of the corporation's 14-year effort to "extend this litigation endlessly" raising multiple technicalities with the hopes the Bigios will drop the case from sheer exhaustion."