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Arcane Law Brings Conflicts From Overseas to U.S. Courts

The Alien Tort Statute…has been used often in recent years to sue major companies for alleged complicity in crimes overseas, including torture and murder. Defendants need only to have regular business contacts with the U.S. to be vulnerable to lawsuits. The litigation has proven controversial. Some legal experts claim that opportunistic plaintiffs' lawyers have seized on the long-dormant law to enrich themselves…But human-rights lawyers counter that victims of abuses often can't obtain justice in foreign courts, making alien tort suits their only recourse. Both sides agree on one thing: Courts increasingly are willing to consider alien-tort suits and to force companies to answer for their behavior overseas. [refers to Shell, Rio Tinto, Ford, General Motors]

Part of the following stories

Rio Tinto lawsuit (re Papua New Guinea)

Apartheid reparations lawsuits (re So. Africa)