Monday, April 23, 2012

Supreme Court decides Mohamad v. Rajoub: no cause of action against corporations under Torture Victim Protection Act

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.

Last week, the Court announced its decision in Rajoub (under the name Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority) holding that plaintiffs do not have the right to sue corporations or other entities under the statute.  The opinion is available here. All other relevant documents in the case are available here.  The oral argument is available here.

Here is a list of comments on the case, courtesy of the SCotUS blog:

For the SCotUS blog, Lyle Denniston reports that the ruling “almost certainly means there will be few cases in U.S. courts seeking damages for acts of torture overseas.” Other coverage of the opinion comes from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Nina Totenberg of NPR, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, James Vicini of Reuters, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor, Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal.  At the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Jess Bravin also notes that the opinion incorrectly referred to the respondent, the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the “Palestinian” Liberation Organization.

In addition, there are comments in the Wall Street Journal law blog, and today's opinion analysis at the SCotUS blog here and here.

1 comment:

Matt Powell said...

Each year the US Supreme Court takes individuals rights away and gives more rights to corporations.