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27 Jan 2012

Kathleen M. Sullivan, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

[PDF] Esther Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., et al. - Brief for the Respondents

The court of appeals properly considered whether the [Alien Tort Statute] extends to corporations for the alleged offenses here even though that issue was not briefed in or decided by the district court. An issue of subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time and, as Sosa explained, the ATS is “in terms only jurisdictional.” Petitioners resist this conclusion…Petitioners fail to demonstrate that international law, with the requisite specificity and universal acceptance, imposes responsibility on corporations for the offenses alleged here. Even if Petitioners could make that showing, they do not establish that a federal common law cause of action should be afforded, given this Court’s contrary precedent and the practical consequences of affording the cause.