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29 Mai 2007

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Jeppesen lawsuit (re extraordinary rendition flights)

Status: CLOSED

Date lawsuit was filed
29 Mai 2007
Ort der Einreichung: Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
Ort des Vorfalls: Marokko, Afghanistan, Kuba, Ägypten
Art des Rechtsstreits: Transnational



In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, a subsidiary of Boeing, under the Alien Tort Claims Act in US court. The plaintiffs allege they had been abducted, transferred by aeroplane to secret locations and subjected to torture and cruel treatment. The Supreme court declined to hear the case, therefore closing it. 

In May 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing) under the Alien Tort Claims Act in US federal court.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five individuals who alleged that they had been abducted, transferred by aeroplane to secret locations and subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment through the US Government’s “extraordinary rendition” programme.  Beginning in 2001, Jeppesen provided the US Central Intelligence Agency with flight plans and logistical support for the aircraft used in the extraordinary rendition flights.  The plaintiffs allege that Jeppesen aided and abetted the torture and inhuman treatment they suffered and allege Jeppesen’s complicity in the violation of customary international law.  They claim that Jeppesen had knowledge of the purpose of the flights.

Before Jeppesen responded to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the US Government filed a motion to intervene and to dismiss the case, under the state secrets privilege.  This privilege is asserted by the government to exclude evidence from a case on the basis that the evidence could reveal information that would compromise national security.  The Government argued that the entire subject matter of the lawsuit fell under the state secrets privilege and should be dismissed.  The District Court granted the motion to dismiss in February 2008.  The plaintiffs appealed this dismissal, and in April 2009 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal and remanded the case for trial.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the subject matter of the lawsuit was not a state secret.  The Court of Appeals reheard the case before an en banc panel of all 11 circuit court judges in December 2009.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals narrowly ruled that the case should be dismissed because of national security concerns.  The plaintiffs petitioned the US Supreme Court on 7 December 2010 asking it to hear an appeal of the dismissal.  In May 2011 the Supreme Court declined to hear the plaintiffs appeal.