United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
231 F. Supp. 2d 1202 (2002)
In 1944, Germany invaded Hungary, and the Hungarian government ordered Jews to turn in their gold, jewelry, and other valuable personal property. The property was later loaded onto a Germany-bound train, which was known as the Gold Train. The Gold Train was seized in Austria by the United States Army in 1945. Many years later, a group of Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivors (plaintiffs) brought this class action lawsuit against the United States on behalf of Hungarian Jews and their descendants. The plaintiffs claim that the property on the Gold Train was identifiable because it was kept in labeled boxes. The plaintiffs claim that the United States nonetheless determined in 1946 that it was impossible to determine the rightful owners of the property, and that the Gold Train’s contents were sold or requisitioned by the Army. The plaintiffs also claim that much of the property was looted from military storage. The plaintiffs only learned of these facts in 1999, when the United States government released a report on the matter. The plaintiffs claimed that these actions were an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment, a breach of an implied contract of bailment, and violations of international law. The government moved to dismiss on grounds of untimeliness, failure to state a claim, and sovereign immunity.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Seitz, J.)
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