Jeppesen lawsuit (re extraordinary rendition flights)

In May 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing) under the Alien Tort Claims Act in US federal court.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five individuals who alleged that they had been abducted, transferred by aeroplane to secret locations and subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment through the US Government’s “extraordinary rendition” programme.  Beginning in 2001, Jeppesen provided the US Central Intelligence Agency with flight plans and logistical support for the aircraft used in the extraordinary rendition flights.  The plaintiffs allege that Jeppesen aided and abetted the torture and inhuman treatment they suffered and allege Jeppesen’s complicity in the violation of customary international law.  They claim that Jeppesen had knowledge of the purpose of the flights.

 Before Jeppesen responded to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the US Government filed a motion to intervene and to dismiss the case, under the state secrets privilege.  This privilege is asserted by the government to exclude evidence from a case on the basis that the evidence could reveal information that would compromise national security.  The Government argued that the entire subject matter of the lawsuit fell under the state secrets privilege and should be dismissed.  The District Court granted the motion to dismiss in February 2008.  The plaintiffs appealed this dismissal, and in April 2009 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal and remanded the case for trial.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the subject matter of the lawsuit was not a state secret.  The Court of Appeals reheard the case before an en banc panel of all 11 circuit court judges in December 2009.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals narrowly ruled that the case should be dismissed because of national security concerns.  The plaintiffs petitioned the US Supreme Court on 7 December 2010 asking it to hear an appeal of the dismissal.  In May 2011 the Supreme Court declined to hear the plaintiffs appeal. 

Supreme Court rejects torture victims' suit, Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 May 2011
US court rejects Binyam Mohamed torture case, Haroon Siddique, Guardian [UK], 9 Sep 2010
Suit by 5 ex-captives of CIA can proceed, appeals panel rules, Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr 2009

US court dismisses CIA flights case, Al Jazeera, 14 Feb 2008

A Bid to Litigate the Legality of U.S.-Sponsored Torture in Federal Court: Will It Succeed?, Anthony J. Sebok, Findlaw’s Writ, 5 Jun 2007

Boeing subsidiary accused of aiding CIA torture flights, Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2007

The C.I.A.'s Travel Agent, Jane Mayer, New Yorker, 30 Oct 2006

- American Civil Liberties Union [plaintiffs’ co-counsel]: Appeals Court Decision Denies Extraordinary Rendition Victims Their Day in Court, 8 Sep 2010
- American Civil Liberties Union: Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc [case summary, includes links to certain legal documents]

- [PDF] Mohamed, et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. - Brief of amici curiae International Legal Scholars and Human Rights Organizations in support of the petition for writ of certiorari, 12 Jan 2011
- [PDF] Mohamed, et al. v. United States of America and Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. - Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, 7 Dec 2010
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., 8 Sep 2010 [order dismissing the case following rehearing en banc]
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., 27 Apr 2009 [order reversing lower court’s dismissal of the case and remanding the case for trial]

- US District Court for the Northern District of California: [PDF]Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan - Order Granting the United States' Motion to Intervene and Granting the United States' Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice, 13 Feb 2008

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Article
14 February 2008

US court dismisses CIA flights case

Author: Al Jazeera

A US judge…dismissed a lawsuit accusing a subsidiary of the aircraft manufacturer Boeing of helping the CIA to secretly fly suspects to overseas prisons... [The] judge ruled that national security could be threatened if the lawsuit [filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Jeppesen Dataplan (part of Boeing)] was allowed to proceed…[T]he CIA director… had called for the application of the US government's so-called "state secrets privilege", allowing intelligence agencies to prohibit courts cases using evidence that is said to jeopardise national security…Ben Wizner, an ACLU lawyer, said he would appeal against the decision.

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Article
7 June 2007

The Alien Tort Claims Act: An Activist Tool for Change

Author: Bart Mongoven, Stratfor

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and British human rights charity Reprieve filed suit...against...Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. The suit claims the Boeing subsidiary knowingly aided CIA rendition activities abroad and is complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects. The ACLU's suit, filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act...reaches...the sizeable business community that has contracts with federal agencies involved in the larger war against Islamist militants...[T]he rendition program alone involves many additional contractors, all of which now see themselves as possibly facing action... In addition to the renditions, the United States operates dozens of other programs that flirt with the boundaries of international human rights norms -- and private contractors have had at least a tangential role in almost all... [The ACLU's] strategy will affect how CIA and Defense Department contractors do business. Just as the oil, mining and resource-extracting industries have built structures to monitor problems with an eye toward ATCA, so too will defense contractors... The ATCA suit places government contractors (and would-be contractors) on notice: Any dealing with the government could place them at risk of a court case that, regardless of merit, can cause long-lasting damage to the company. The design, then, is to turn contractors into lobbyists for human rights. It is an approach that could work.

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Article
5 June 2007

A Bid to Litigate the Legality of U.S.-Sponsored Torture in Federal Court: Will It Succeed?

Author: Anthony J. Sebok, Professor, Brooklyn Law School, in FindLaw's Writ [USA]

...[T]he [American Civil Liberties Union] filed a suit that could provide human rights activists with an ingenious mechanism to allow a federal court to litigate whether torture sponsored by the U.S. is a tort….Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. is a private company owned by Boeing, which provides a service…referred to as "trip planning"...help[ing] the CIA arrange international flights that moved suspected terrorists from one country to another that uses torture in its interrogations.…According to the suit, the plaintiffs…were seized off the street and flown to prisons in Morocco, Egypt, and Afghanistan, where they were illegally held and tortured by intelligence officers….The suit alleges...that Jeppesen knew what would happen to them. As a result, the three men are suing Jeppesen...for damages resulting from the violations of their human rights.[also refers to CACI, Titan]

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Article
29 May 2007

Boeing unit to face suit in CIA seizures

Author: Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to file a lawsuit...alleging that a subsidiary of Boeing [Jeppesen] aided the Central Intelligence Agency in the forced transportation of three plaintiffs who say they were captured and flown to overseas prisons and in some cases tortured. The civil suit is to be filed...under the Alien Tort Claims Act..."Evidence points to Jeppesen as a major player in the extraordinary rendition program," said Steven Watt, staff lawyer for the ACLU...Watt added, "The evidence here also points to Jeppesen contracting to profit from torture." Jeppesen referred any request for comments to Boeing. Tim Neale, director of communications at Boeing, declined to respond "because to do so would mean commenting on the work Jeppesen does for clients under contracts that call for confidentiality."..."Jeppesen...operates in accordance with the laws."...An investigation conducted by an Italian business daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, also independently found evidence that two of the three plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit...were transported aboard a Gulfstream V and a Boeing 737 with the logistical support from Jeppesen. [also refers to Air Routing International.]

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Lawsuit
6 November 2002

Jeppesen lawsuit (re extraordinary rendition flights)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In May 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing) under the Alien Tort Claims Act in US federal court.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five individuals who alleged that they had been abducted, transferred by aeroplane to secret locations and subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment through the US Government’s “extraordinary rendition” programme.  Beginning in 2001, Jeppesen provided the US Central Intelligence Agency with flight plans and logistical support for the aircraft used in the extraordinary rendition flights.  The plaintiffs allege that Jeppesen aided and abetted the torture and inhuman treatment they suffered and allege Jeppesen’s complicity in the violation of customary international law.  They claim that Jeppesen had knowledge of the purpose of the flights.

 

Before Jeppesen responded to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the US Government filed a motion to intervene and to dismiss the case, under the state secrets privilege.  This privilege is asserted by the government to exclude evidence from a case on the basis that the evidence could reveal information that would compromise national security.  The Government argued that the entire subject matter of the lawsuit fell under the state secrets privilege and should be dismissed.  The District Court granted the motion to dismiss in February 2008.  The plaintiffs appealed this dismissal, and in April 2009 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal and remanded the case for trial.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the subject matter of the lawsuit was not a state secret.  The Court of Appeals reheard the case before an en banc panel of all 11 circuit court judges in December 2009.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals narrowly ruled that the case should be dismissed because of national security concerns.  The plaintiffs petitioned the US Supreme Court on 7 December 2010 asking it to hear an appeal of the dismissal.  In May 2011 the Supreme Court declined to hear the plaintiffs appeal.

 

- Supreme Court rejects torture victims' suit, Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 May 2011
US court rejects Binyam Mohamed torture case, Haroon Siddique, Guardian [UK], 9 Sep 2010
- Suit by 5 ex-captives of CIA can proceed, appeals panel rules, Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr 2009

- US court dismisses CIA flights case, Al Jazeera, 14 Feb 2008

- A Bid to Litigate the Legality of U.S.-Sponsored Torture in Federal Court: Will It Succeed?, Anthony J. Sebok, Findlaw’s Writ, 5 Jun 2007

- Boeing subsidiary accused of aiding CIA torture flights, Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2007

- The C.I.A.'s Travel Agent, Jane Mayer, New Yorker, 30 Oct 2006

 

- American Civil Liberties Union [plaintiffs’ co-counsel]: Appeals Court Decision Denies Extraordinary Rendition Victims Their Day in Court, 8 Sep 2010
- American Civil Liberties Union: Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc [case summary, includes links to certain legal documents]

 

- [PDF] Mohamed, et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. - Brief of amici curiae International Legal Scholars and Human Rights Organizations in support of the petition for writ of certiorari, 12 Jan 2011
- [PDF] Mohamed, et al. v. United States of America and Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. - Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, 7 Dec 2010
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., 8 Sep 2010 [order dismissing the case following rehearing en banc]
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., 27 Apr 2009 [order reversing lower court’s dismissal of the case and remanding the case for trial]

- US District Court for the Northern District of California: [PDF] Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan - Order Granting the United States' Motion to Intervene and Granting the United States' Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice, 13 Feb 2008