Companies Shielded as U.S. Court Cuts Human-Rights Suits

Author: Greg Stohr, Bloomberg, Published on: 17 April 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court insulated multinational corporations from some lawsuits over atrocities abroad, scaling back a favorite legal tool of human rights activists. The justices threw out a suit accusing two foreign-based units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc of facilitating torture and execution in Nigeria. The majority said the 1789 Alien Tort Statute generally doesn’t apply to conduct beyond U.S. borders. In the Shell case, “all of the relevant conduct took place outside the United States,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. The justices were unanimous on the outcome in the Shell case, while dividing in their reasoning… Human-rights advocates said before the Supreme Court decision that a ruling favoring Shell would undermine the ability of atrocity victims to hold their perpetrators accountable. Alleged victims have invoked the law more than 150 times in the past 20 years. [Also refers to ExxonMobil, Cisco, Chiquita, Siemens, Daimler, Rio Tinto]

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Related companies: Chiquita Cisco Systems Daimler ExxonMobil Rio Tinto Shell