“Economic murder” is what Eric Coufal calls what’s happening to his law firm after it was caught in the political crossfire over the North American Free Trade Agreement treaty, and he’s banking on a Pasadena, Calif., panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to come to his rescue.

Coufal, a Mexican citizen who once practiced on Wall Street and is still a member of the New York Bar, heads the Guadalajara firm Coufal Abogados. At issue is whether he can pursue a suit in the United States against an American corporation, AT&T Corp., for a tort claim — intentional interference with a contract — that does not exist in Mexican law.