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6 Jun 2012

Carey d'Avino & Paul Hoffman, counsel for the Petitioners

[PDF] Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, et al. - Petitioners' Supplemental Opening Brief

The First Congress invested the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) with a geographic scope commensurate with the reach of the law of nations and treaty violations it was enacted to adjudicate. The text, history and purposes of the ATS, and this Court’s decision in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004) all confirm this. Piracy, one of the paradigmatic ATS claims, clearly occurs extraterritorially, and the ATS was understood from its earliest days to apply to acts occurring on foreign soil. Other existing doctrines are available to constrain any inappropriate exercise of jurisdiction under the ATS. There is no reason for this Court to craft a novel territorial limitation. No court has ever held that the ATS is limited to conduct occurring within U.S. territory or on the high seas. This Court should not be the first.