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Nestle Child Labor Ruling Blurs Alien Tort Law, 9th Circ. Told [Subscription required]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday urged the Ninth Circuit to revisit a panel's ruling reviving a putative class action against Nestle USA Inc., Cargill Inc. and others over alleged forced child labor, saying the decision will deepen confusion about the proper interpretation of the Alien Tort Statute and open companies up to protracted ATS litigation…In their brief, the Chamber of Commerce and NFTC [National Foreign Trade Council] said the Ninth Circuit's panel's ruling ignores the U.S. Supreme Court's "unambiguous admonition" to limit the sweep of the ATS in its 2013 ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum…Before the opinion was issued, there already existed a circuit split regarding the mens rea standard, the brief said. The Second and Fourth circuits have found that a defendant may be held liable under the ATS if it provided assistance to the principal violator with the purpose of facilitating a tort. Meanwhile, the Eleventh and D.C. circuits have said that a defendant only has to have knowledge of the underlying violation to be held liable…

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