Park v. Shin, 313 F.3d 1138 (9th Cir. 2002)

Tae Sook Park sued Bong Kil Shin, the Deputy Consul General of the Korean Consulate in San Francisco, and his wife, Mee Sook Shin, for various employment-related claims arising from Park’s tenure as the Shins’ domestic servant. The Shins argued that they were entitled to consular immunity under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and to sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (“FSIA”). The Ninth Circuit held that since Park was hired as the Shin family’s personal domestic servant, any labor she may have performed on behalf of the consulate was incidental to her employment as the Shins’ personal servant. Further, Shin was not entitled to immunity under the FSIA because he was not acting within the scope of his official duties when he committed the acts at issue in the case and, in any event, his behavior fell into the “commercial activities” exception to sovereign immunity.