A Split On Companies' Liability For Human Rights Crimes

Law360 (October 8, 2010, 1:10 PM EDT) -- The Alien Tort Statute provides jurisdiction in U.S. federal courts for claims brought by aliens alleging a tort committed in violation of the laws of nations. In recent years, plaintiffs have invoked the statute against corporations for alleged complicity in human rights violations in other countries.

On Sept. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, 06-4800, became the first appellate court to hold that the ATS may not be used to impose liability on corporations.

The decision may mark a sea change in the development of law under the ATS and brings...

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