Obama Administration States that Corporations are Proper Defendants in Alien Tort Cases

The Obama Administration has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum in support of the plaintiffs' position that corporations are proper defendants in cases involving claims under the Alien Tort Statute ("ATS"). Filed on December 21, the brief was signed by the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce.

The Supreme Court will review the Second Circuit's controversial decision that corporations cannot be properly sued under the ATS for violations of customary international law. Notably, the Ninth Circuit, the D.C. Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit have all upheld corporate liability under the ATS.

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