A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit against Venezuela by a Venezuelan national and his Massachusetts husband seeking to have their marriage recognized by that country's government.
Carlos Javier Holder Wendell had sued the Venezuelan government last August, seeking to force its consul in Boston to formally recognize his marriage so that he and his husband could visit relatives in that country, which would be impossible without recognition of their marital status because Venezuela no longer issues tourist visas to Americans. He also sought $10 million in damages.
US District Court Judge Indira Talwani ruled today, however, that foreign governments are normally immune from lawsuits in US courts. Talwani acknowledged Holder Wendell's argument that foreign governments can be sued for personal injuries caused by "non-discretionary and tortious acts or omissions," but said Holder Wendell failed to "invoke any cognizable state or federal statute or principle of common law sounding in tort entitling him to relief under the circumstances described."