By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Plaintiff Hamilton Reserve Bank Ltd. (HRB) and the defendant Government of Sri Lanka submitted a joint status letter on Friday to the Southern District Court of New York outlining the schedule in response to the order US District Judge L. Denise Cote issued on 20 April.
THE Court has ordered the Sri Lankan Government and its sovereign bondholder Hamilton Reserve Bank (HRB) to submit a joint status letter by 12 May 2023.
The decision by US District Judge Denise Cote follows a conference held involving the two parties on 20 April.
The Government in early April in its answers to HRB’s Amended Complaint, denied almost all the allegations.
Via its attorneys Clifford Chance US LLP, the Government said the Plaintiff HRB’s claim is barred, in whole or in part, by reason of Sri Lanka’s sovereign immunity.
Furthermore the Plaintiff’s claim is barred, in whole or in part, because Plaintiff lacks standing to sue and Plaintiff’s claim is barred, in whole or in part, and/or should be stayed, on the grounds of international comity.
HRB owns over $ 250 million in principal amount of the $ 1 billion worth International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) issued in 2012. The Bonds matured on 25 July 2022.
Hamilton alleged that as a result of Sri Lanka’s default, it is owed $ 250.19 million in principle and $ 7.349 million in accrued interest (before accounting for pre-and post-judgement interest).
HRB, represented by Bleichmar Fonti and Auld LLP and Jenner and Block LLP, initiated this action on 21 June 2022 after which on 21 September Sri Lanka filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
According to this schedule, jointly signed by the plaintiff’s lawyers Bleichmar Fonti and Auld LLP and the defendant’s lawyers Clifford Chance US LLP both parties are required to complete the discovery before 20 June, the summary judgement motions by 26 June, summary judgement opposition and cross-motions to stay by 17 July, and the summary judgement replies by 31 July this year.
Opposition to cross-motion to stay is due on or before 14 August followed by the cross-motion to stay reply due on or before 31 August, 2023.
The lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant jointly stipulated a protective order to the Court regarding the discovery material, which includes information of any kind produced or disclosed in the course designated as confidential, limiting access and use by parties not related to the case. Judge Cote so ordered the stipulation.
Sri Lanka in mid-April announced a moratorium on foreign debt repayments, including the Bonds and since then has made no payments on the Bonds. The Government of Sri Lanka filed a motion in September 2022 to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff lacks contractual standing.