Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ninth Circuit upholds right to sue under the Alien Tort Statute; Washington Legal Foundation asks Supreme Court to overturn

Long time readers of this blog know I have followed the cases on the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) for some time.  For my posts on this topic, go here and scroll down.

I had not heard of any new developments in ATS case law in quite a while now.... until just a few days ago, when I read that the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a lawsuit filed by citizens of Mali who, as children, worked on Ivory Coast cocoa farms should be permitted to go forward under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).  The plaintiffs allege that cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers aided and abetted in human rights violations by farmers in the Ivory Coast.  

Not surprisingly, the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), an American "public interest law firm" (and, essentially a right wing think tank), quickly filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review (and ultimately overturn) the decision of the appeals court.  You can read the brief here.

Among other things, the WLF argues that the apparent purpose of the lawsuit is to assist with a human-rights campaign being waged in the press and before legislatures, not to seriously pursue claims against those who purchase products from farmers who engage in abusive labor practices.

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