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Lawsuit

Daimler lawsuit (re Argentina)

Status: CLOSED

Incident date
Jan. 1, 2004
Unknown
Workers
Location of Filing: United States of America
Location of Incident: Argentina
Type of Litigation: Transnational

Companies

Daimler AG Germany Automobile & other motor vehicles

Sources

In 2004, 23 Argentinian citizens filed suit against Daimler in US federal court in California, alleging that Daimler's subsidiary Mercedes Benz Argentina had collaborated with the Argentinian dictatorship (1976-1983) to kidnap, detain, torture and kill employees. In January 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled to dismiss the case finding that Daimler did not have enough ties with California for courts to hear the case.

Para 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.


Case Timeline