Daimler lawsuit (re Argentina)

Daimler Nameplate by Andy CPara la versión en español de este perfil de las demandas judiciales, haga clic acá.

Für die deutsche Beschreibung des Falles, klicken Sie hier.

In 2004, 23 Argentinian citizens filed a complaint under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act against DaimlerChrysler AG (now Daimler) in US federal court in California.  They alleged that one of Daimler’s subsidiaries, Mercedes Benz Argentina, had collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture and kill the plaintiffs or their close relatives, who were employees of Mercedes Benz Argentina, during Argentina’s military dictatorship, which ruled from 1976-1983.  In 2005, Daimler filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of “personal jurisdiction” in California.  Personal jurisdiction requires a certain minimum level of contacts between the defendant and the state in which the suit is filed.  Daimler, headquartered in Germany, argued that it could not be sued in California solely based on the fact that its subsidiary, Mercedes Benz USA, had two offices in the state.

On 22 November 2005, the federal court granted Daimler’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that Daimler did not have “continuous and systematic contacts” with Mercedes Benz USA.  The plaintiffs appealed, and the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision on 18 May 2011, arguing that Daimler was subject to personal jurisdiction in California.  In addition, it argued that Argentinian courts would conclude the plaintiffs waited too long to sue, and that it was unclear whether German courts would consider the plaintiffs' claims.  The case was remanded to the federal court for further proceedings.

In February 2012, Daimler appealed to the US Supreme Court.  On 19 April 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.  On 14 January 2014, the Supreme Court reversed the federal appeals court decision, and ruled that Daimler did not have enough ties with California for courts to hear the case.

- "U.S. top court curbs human rights claims in Daimler ruling", Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, 14 Jan 2014
- [ES] "La Corte de EE.UU. rechazó un juicio contra Mercedes-Benz por derechos humanos en la Argentina", IECO-Clarín.com, 14 enero 2014
- [FR] "Abus de Mercedes en Argentine: Daimler ne peut être poursuivi aux USA", AFP, 14 janvier 2014
- [ES]  “La Corte de EE.UU. trata la denuncia a Daimler,La Nación, 23 abril 2013
- “Daimler Gets Supreme Court Hearing on Human-Rights Suit”, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg, 22 Apr 2013
- [FR] « La Cour suprême américaine dira si Daimler AG peut être poursuivi  », Agence France-Presse, 22 avril 2013
- [ES] “Juicio civil a Mercedes Benz por favorecer la represión”, Télam, 12 noviembre 2011
- “Daimler Loses Bid for Review of Argentine Rights Case Ruling", Karen Gullo, Bloomberg, 9 Nov 2011
- “Daimler must face Argentina abuse lawsuit in US”, Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 18 May 2011
- [ES] “Con expertise represivo internacional", Gustavo Veiga, Página 12, 1 diciembre 2009
- “DaimlerChrysler Wins on Human Rights Appeal”, Kate Moser, Law.com, 1 Sep 2009
- [ES] “En EU, juicio contra Mercedes-Benz implicada en la desaparición de obreros durante la dictadura”, Milenio, 22 abril 2008
- “DaimlerChrysler sued over alleged Argentine abuses”, Pablo Bachelet, Global Policy Forum, 14 Jan 2004
- [ES] “Demanda contra gigante automotriz”, BBC Mundo, 15 enero 2004

- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights:Corporation and Dictatorships

- [PDF] "Daimler AG v. Bauman et al. - Opinion", US Supreme Court, 14 Jan 2014 [opinion reversing US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision]
- [PDF] "Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. – Order", US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 9 Nov 2011 [order denying petition for rehearing]
- [PDF] “Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. - Opinion”, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 18 May 2011 [opinion finding court has personal jurisdiction over defendant]
- [PDF] “Bauman et al v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al.- Opinion” US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 28 Aug 2009 (decision later withdrawn) [opinion upholding lower court’s dismissal of case]

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Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe

"第三大支柱: 讓跨國公司侵犯人權行為的受害者獲得司法救濟", 2013年2月


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Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe

"第三大支柱: 让跨国公司侵犯人权行为的受害者获得司法救济", 2013年2月


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4 December 2014

Access to justice for victims of human rights abuses needs to be strengthened

Author: Sif Thorgeirsson, Manager, Corporate Legal Accountability Project, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

‘Closing the courtroom door: where can victims of human rights abuse by business find justice?’, 1 Dec 2014

…[M]any victims of business-related human rights abuse have no access to judicial remedy in their home country…The majority of cases of abuse we see at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre occur in weak governance zones, which often do not have an independent judiciary, and sometimes lack fully functioning courts…Of the 108 legal cases the Centre has profiled,…[54%] are related to extraterritorial claims…[but t]he effect [of Kiobel] has been a near-freeze on victims seeking justice through this…avenue. At the time of…Kiobel…, there were at least 19 corporate Alien Tort cases pending in US courts.  Since then, only one new…case has been filed…While the scope for remedy from US and English courts is narrowing…there have been three cases filed in Canadian courts addressing extraterritorial business-related human rights abuse...[and]…cases…have been filed in France, Switzerland and Germany…Concerted action is needed by governments and others to reverse the trend toward closing…avenues to justice…[Also refers to Occidental Petroleum, Cisco Systems, Drummond, Chiquita, Rio Tinto,  Daimler, ExxonMobil, Nestle, CACI, L-3 Titan, Nevsun, Hudbay Minerals and Tahoe Resources]

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20 November 2014

US Supreme Court decision in Daimler endorses large companies' impunity & leaves victims without remedy, says Prof. Zamora Cabot

Author: Professor F. J. Zamora Cabot, Univ. Jaume I de Castellón (Spain)

"Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Daimler AG V. Bauman et al case: closing the golden door", Nov 2014

...Daimler...was a good opportunity for the [US Supreme] Court to address details and/or elucidate some of the loose threads that...[it] had very carefully left in its resolution of Kiobel...[E]ven assuming the background of Kiobel, the solution given in Daimler goes beyond it...Large companies, which continually...receive all types of rights, use their complex networks...to avoid state regulations, avoid paying taxes, localize and delocalize their activities without paying attention to the...consequences...increas[e] their impunity in the face of responsibilities arising from the terrible Human Rights abuses continuously perpetrated by many of them...Endorsing this reality...is where th[e Daimler] decision, alongside Kiobel, takes us...[I]t is undeniable that businesses and their advisors are overjoyed...The victims, on the other hand, are thrown out into external darkness...The High Court is decisively closing the door it had left “slightly ajar” en Sosa in the face of the worst Human Rights violations...

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8 August 2014

US Court decision to dismiss lawsuit against Chiquita shows difficulties faced by victims to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses abroad, says academic

Author: Lauren Carasik, Western New England University School of Law, in Al Jazeera America

"The uphill battle to hold US corporations accountable for abuses abroad", 8 Aug 2014 

...[T]he Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against...Chiquita by 4,000 victims of...violence during Colombia’s...civil war...The court found that though Chiquita executives in Ohio did make illegal payments to the AUC, the case did not “touch and concern” the U.S...Judge...Martin [dissenting opinion]...wrote, “we disarm innocents against American corporations that engage in human rights violations abroad”...[T]he case highlights a glaring gap in the international framework...and underscores the importance of developing mechanisms to ensure that victims have access to judicial remedies...[They] face...prohibitive costs of litigation across borders, statutes of limitations and corporate structures that are built on legally distinct entities and insulate companies from liability...[T]he issue is a marked power imbalance: Big companies employ their considerable resources to shield themselves and impose double standards that serve their interests. They invoke the protections of international law when it suits them…Yet they aggressively resist efforts to impose accountability across borders…

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20 April 2014

[PDF] An International Arbitration Tribunal on Business & Human Rights - Reshaping the Judiciary - Version two

Author: Claes Cronstedt, Rachel Chambers, Adrienne Margolis, David Rönnegard, Robert C. Thompson & Katherine Tyler

We have…[worked] towards…the creation of an international tribunal on business and human rights…The Tribunal would maintain rosters of highly regarded jurists and attorneys…[It] would apply tort/delict principles…irrespective of the locus of the abuses, the nationalities of those involved or whether the perpetrators are legal or natural persons (corporations or individual business executives)…[It] would have the authority to award compensation…Modern technology would enable the Tribunal to carry out its functions worldwide…The Tribunal would likely have wide-ranging subject matter jurisdiction, covering not only the grave abuses that form the core crimes under the Rome Statute…but also all other internationally-recognized human rights…The Tribunal could use its discretion as to which particular disputes it would accept, adopting standards…such as the merits of the claim, the gravity of the abuse and the extent of the injuries, the need to resolve controversial legal issues, and the potential importance of the outcome as a precedent…

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14 April 2014

Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts: New Expectations and Paradigms

Author: American Bar Association, Lara Blecher, Nancy Kaymar Stafford & Gretchen C. Bellamy (editors)

…[A] fascinating collection of perspectives on the key developments and trends in business and human rights law. Written by a highly respected panel of experts, [it]…examines the difficult and nuanced questions associated with corporate accountability…[It]…contributes unique and thoughtful perspectives, legally grounded and passionately contended, to the ongoing dialogue about the intersection of human rights and corporate responsibility…[It]…focuses mainly on developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, although examples of legal developments in corporate accountability for human rights in developing countries are discussed…This book considers the question: how will lawyers and courts deal with the thorny issue of extraterritoriality in transnational litigation brought against companies for human rights abuses abroad?...[Authors include Justine Nolan, Ralph G. Steinhardt, Robert McCorquodale, Penelope Simons, Jeffrey S. Vogt, Beth Stephens, Paul Hoffman, Neil A. F. Popovic, Erika R. George, Rachel Chambers, Katherine Tyler, Shubhaa Srinivasan, Peter T. Muchlinski, Virginie Rouas, Sheldon Leader, Mary Dowell-Jones, Andrew Kassoy, Nathan Gilbert & Sarah Altschuller]

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25 February 2014

[PDF] An International Arbitration Tribunal on Business and Human Rights

Author: Claes Cronstedt, Rachel Chambers, Adrienne Margolis, David Rönnegard, Robert C. Thompson, Katherine Tyler

We have come together to work towards the ultimate goal of the creation of an international arbitration tribunal on business and human rights...The Tribunal, while unaffiliated with any governmental organization, would maintain a roster of highly regarded jurists and attorneys who are familiar with human rights law. The Tribunal would act in a fair and impartial manner. The Tribunal would apply tort principles to cases involving business involvement in human rights abuses throughout the world, irrespective of the locus of the crimes, the nationalities of those involved or whether the perpetrators are legal or natural persons...In appropriate cases, the Tribunal would have the authority to award compensation...The Tribunal would likely have wide-ranging subject matter jurisdiction, covering not only the grave abuses that form the core crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court but also all other internationally-recognized human rights...This draft is intended to provide the framework for further discussions...[refers to Shell, Daimler]

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24 January 2014

United States: Supreme Court Continues Recent Trend Of Limiting Suits For Corporate Conduct Outside Of The US

Author: Sander Bak, Atara Miller & Jed Schwartz, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, in Mondaq (USA)

Following the trend of its recent decisions…the Supreme Court…in Daimler AG v. Bauman, reversed the Ninth Circuit, and held that a corporation could not be sued in the US for actions that took place entirely abroad, even if [it] has some general contacts within the forum state…[T]he Supreme Court ruled that it would violate due process to subject a foreign corporation…to general jurisdiction in California based on its subsidiary's systematic contacts with that state…If…[Mercedes-Benz USA]'s sales activities in California could make Daimler subject to jurisdiction for any conduct that occurred throughout the world, the same would be true for "every other State in which MBUSA's sales are sizable…[S]uch an "exorbitant" exercise of jurisdiction would be unfair…[This] decision will restrict the ability of plaintiffs to bring suit in the US against foreign corporate defendants where the allegations are based on extraterritorial activities. [Refers to Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler)]

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14 January 2014

Supreme Court Rejects Human Rights Claim Against Multinational Firm [Argentina/USA]

Author: Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court gave multinational companies a stronger shield against lawsuits, throwing out a case against Daimler AG over a company unit’s alleged collaboration in torture and killings in Argentina. The justices unanimously said the parent company didn’t have enough ties to California to give courts there the authority to hear the case…The ruling reversed a federal appeals court decision that had let the case go forward. The ruling adds to a line of Supreme Court decisions that have reduced the options available to people trying to sue multinational corporations in American courts…[Also refers to Goodyear, Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler)]

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