U.S. Supreme Court Reconsiders Alien Tort Suits Against Corporations
by Christine M. Vanek on October 15, 2012
The US. Supreme Court opened its October 2012 term by reconsidering Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which first came before the Court last term. The case involves the novel question of whether corporations can be held liable in U.S. courts for human rights violations committed abroad.
The lawsuit is based on the Alien Tort Statute, an infrequently cited law that dates back to 1789. It specifically states that U.S. courts shall have jurisdiction over any civil lawsuit "by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States."
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