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28 Sep 2012

Michael Bobelian, Forbes

Supreme Court Revisits Corporate Liability For Human Rights Violations [USA]

The case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, involves the Alien Tort Statute (ATS)…Until the 1980s, the ATS saw little usage and even after a significant uptick of litigation since that time, only a dozen or so cases are filed annually under the statute. Of those, about half have targeted corporations for wrongdoing, according to Katie Redford, Director of EarthRights International…Compared to a pair of rulings from last year that made it harder for millions of consumers and employees to bring class actions against corporations, the Kiobel case will affect far fewer companies and potential claimants. Despite the seemingly low stakes, however, Kiobel represents an opportunity for the Court’s conservative majority to notch another legal victory for corporate America, this time by insulating companies from liability for human rights violations committed abroad.

Part of the following timelines

US Supreme Court to rehear Kiobel v. Shell Alien Tort Claims Act case on 1 October

Shell lawsuit (re executions in Nigeria, Kiobel v Shell, filed in USA)