Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oral argument on whether corporations can be sued under the Alien Torts Statute

As you probably know by now, I have been following the developments in the two cases before the US Supreme Court on whether plaintiffs have a right to recover from corporations under the Alien Tort Statute (Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (Mohamad v Rajoub).  For more details, go here and scroll down to see multiple posts on the subject.

In  Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held for the first time that corporations can't be sued under the Alien Tort Statute.  Likewise, in Mohamad v. Rajoub, the DC Circuit Court held that corporations could not be liable under the TVPA (even though in a different case it held they can be sued under the ATS).

Although some courts have agreed with Rajoub, other Circuit Courts have rejected Kiobel's reasoning and it remains the only case to have decided the issue in favor of the corporate defendants (under the ATS).  Here is a list of the relevant cases and how they were decided.

Both cases were heard last week and here are the links to the oral arguments: for Kiobel go here and for Rajoub, go here.

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