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30 Okt 2006

Julie Kay, Law.com

11th Circuit Asked to Clarify Corporate Liability [USA]

A federal judge in Miami has urged an appellate court to clarify key issues of corporate liability under a federal law that's been used against companies and foreign leaders for alleged human rights violations in other countries...U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez dismissed a human rights case against two Coca-Cola bottling companies that was brought...under the Alien Tort Claims Act. The 2001 lawsuit alleged that Panamco and Bebidas...assisted Colombian right-wing paramilitaries in killing several union members...Martinez ruled that even though the complaint described how Panamco plant managers allowed paramilitary groups into the plant and did not stop them from leaving threatening pamphlets, there was no evidence of a direct conspiracy between the paramilitary groups and plant managers...But Judge Martinez also asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to provide guidance to trial courts in handling cases brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act...The act has been increasingly used in recent years to bring human rights actions against corporations...Defendants have included Unocal, Nestlé and Wal-Mart...[also refers to cases brought against Del Monte, Drummond]

Part of the following timelines

Coca-Cola lawsuit (re Colombia)

Unocal lawsuit (re Myanmar)