“Supreme Court Limits ATS Litigation—But Door Remains Slightly Ajar”

In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013), the United States Supreme Court addressed the applicability of the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) to alleged violations of international law committed by multinational corporations overseas. Although the Supreme Court rejected the claims in Kiobel because of the presumption against the extraterritorial application of statutes such as the ATS, the Supreme Court did not completely slam the door shut on ATS litigation. What types of ATS cases survive Kiobel will certainly be the subject of continued litigation – and corporations remain likely targets.

The ATS was enacted as part of the first Judiciary Act of 1789 and granted district courts original jurisdiction for torts committed by aliens in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. In the past decades, plaintiffs have increasingly used the ATS to sue corporations for alleged international law and human rights violations for operations occurring mostly on foreign shores. In many cases, plaintiffs have accused corporations as varied as Unocal, IBM, Caterpillar and Coca Cola of aiding and abetting alleged international law violations including torture and crimes against humanity.

Originally published in American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Corporate Counsel, Spring 2013, Vol. 27, No. 2, July 8, 2013.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Topics:  Alien Tort Statute, Crimes Against Humanity, Human Rights, International Labor Laws, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Multinationals, SCOTUS, Torture

Published In: Business Organization Updates, Civil Procedure Updates, Civil Rights Updates, International Trade Updates, Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »