U.S. Court Has Jurisdiction Over Argentinian Employees' Claims Against Mercedes-Benz Argentina

Bauman v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., 2011 WL 1879210 (9th Cir. 2011)

In this case, 22 Argentinian residents (including a Chilean national) sued DaimlerChrysler Aktiengesellschaft (“DCAG”) in federal court in California, alleging that one of DCAG’s subsidiaries, Mercedes-Benz Argentina (“MBA”), collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture and kill plaintiffs and their relatives during Argentina’s “Dirty War” in the 1970s. (Some of the plaintiffs are former employees of MBA.) In an opinion by Judge Reinhardt, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court has personal jurisdiction in California over DCAG through the contacts of its subsidiary and agent, Mercedes-Benz USA, in view of the “interest of California in adjudicating important questions of human rights….” See also McCollum v. California Dep’t of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 2011 WL 2138221 (9th Cir. 2011) (court has no jurisdiction over Wiccan chaplain’s claim that he should be eligible for employment in the paid-chaplaincy program).