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Nike lawsuit (Kasky v Nike, re denial of labour abuses)

Nike shoe by Jorge CR7Marc Kasky filed suit against Nike in California state court in 1998 suing the company for unfair and deceptive practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.  Prior to the lawsuit, various news reports alleged poor working conditions at Nike’s overseas supplier factories.  In response, Nike issued press releases and other public statements rebutting the allegations.  Kasky alleged that Nike’s public statements regarding the working conditions in its overseas suppliers’ factories contained false information and material omissions of fact.  Specifically, Kasky took issue with Nike’s statements regarding the following: that workers who make Nike products are protected from physical and sexual abuse, they are paid in accordance with applicable local laws and regulations governing wages and hours, they are paid on average double the applicable local minimum wage, they receive a “living wage”, they receive free meals and health care, and their working conditions are in accordance with applicable local laws and regulations regarding occupational health and safety.  Nike claimed that the lawsuit was barred by the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The trial court agreed with Nike and dismissed the claim.  Kasky appealed, and the California Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling.  Kasky appealed further to the California Supreme Court, which reversed the lower courts’ rulings and held that Nike’s statements were commercial speech which is entitled to less constitutional protection than non-commercial speech.  Following the California Supreme Court’s ruling, Nike appealed (petitioned for certiorari) to the US Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the appeal.  In 2003, the US Supreme Court issued a decision in this case stating that it had granted certiorari improvidently and dismissed the case, which effectively let stand the California Supreme Court’s ruling.  Several months after the US Supreme Court decision, Nike and Kasky agreed to settle the case for $1.5 million.  The settlement involved investments by Nike to strengthen workplace monitoring and factory worker programmes.

- “Nike's Big Ticking-Off”, Duncan Campbell, Guardian [UK], 17 Nov 2003

- “Nike Settles Speech Case”, William McCall, Associated Press, 13 Sep 2003

- “Supreme Court Won't Rule in Case About Nike and Anti-Globalization”, Anne Gearan, Associated Press, 26 Jun 2003

- Nike: NIKE, Inc. and Kasky Announce Settlement of Kasky v. Nike First Amendment Case, 12 Sep 2003

- ReclaimDemocracy.org: Kasky v. Nike [background on case and links to legal documents]

- US Supreme Court: Nike v. Kasky, 26 Jun 2003

- Supreme Court of California: [PDF] Kasky v. Nike , 2 May 2002

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Lawsuit
18 February 2014

Nike lawsuit (Kasky v Nike, re denial of labour abuses)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Marc Kasky filed suit against Nike in California state court in 1998 suing the company for unfair and deceptive practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.  Prior to the lawsuit, various news reports alleged poor working conditions at Nike’s overseas supplier factories.  In response, Nike issued press releases and other public statements rebutting the allegations.  Kasky alleged that Nike’s public statements regarding the working conditions in its overseas suppliers’ factories contained false information and material omissions of fact.  Specifically, Kasky took issue with Nike’s statements regarding the following: that workers who make Nike products are protected from physical and sexual abuse, they are paid in accordance with applicable local laws and regulations governing wages and hours, they are paid on average double the applicable local minimum wage, they receive a “living wage”, they receive free meals and health care, and their working conditions are in accordance with applicable local laws and regulations regarding occupational health and safety.  Nike claimed that the lawsuit was barred by the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.  The trial court agreed with Nike and dismissed the claim.  Kasky appealed, and the California Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling.  Kasky appealed further to the California Supreme Court, which reversed the lower courts’ rulings and held that Nike’s statements were commercial speech which is entitled to less constitutional protection than non-commercial speech.  Following the California Supreme Court’s ruling, Nike appealed (petitioned for certiorari) to the US Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the appeal.  In 2003, the US Supreme Court issued a decision in this case stating that it had granted certiorari improvidently and dismissed the case, which effectively let stand the California Supreme Court’s ruling.  Several months after the US Supreme Court decision, Nike and Kasky agreed to settle the case for $1.5 million.  The settlement involved investments by Nike to strengthen workplace monitoring and factory worker programmes.

- “Nike's Big Ticking-Off”, Duncan Campbell, Guardian [UK], 17 Nov 2003

- “Nike Settles Speech Case”, William McCall, Associated Press, 13 Sep 2003

- “Supreme Court Won't Rule in Case About Nike and Anti-Globalization”, Anne Gearan, Associated Press, 26 Jun 2003

- Nike: NIKE, Inc. and Kasky Announce Settlement of Kasky v. Nike First Amendment Case, 12 Sep 2003

- ReclaimDemocracy.org: Kasky v. Nike [background on case and links to legal documents]

- US Supreme Court: Nike v. Kasky, 26 Jun 2003

- Supreme Court of California: [PDF] Kasky v. Nike , 2 May 2002

Article
1 December 2010

[PDF] Regulating Transnational Companies - 46 proposals

Author: William Bourdon, Yann Queinnec, SHERPA

This Proposal Paper hopes to provide an explanation of the constraints and a series of proposals for a system of TNC regulation. This requires us to first set out the fundamental obstacles that make the question of regulating the activities of TNCs so problematic. The crisis in the financial system that hit economies worldwide proved the importance of regulating for-profit private and public transnational actors. The difficulties states have in agreeing to a common set of rules reflect the scale of the various factors that have to be reconciled if we are to prevent and repair damage to the environment and violations to basic rights...The interests that may be shaken up by some of the proposals outlined in this paper are powerful. Although they are factors of inertia, they are also waiting for a sign, which could come either in the form of “Business as usual ” or “Let’s work together to invent a new economy.” We cannot accept the status quo. Unequal access to wealth, learning, food security and water are some of the many issues that transnational corporations impact strategically...

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Author: William Bourdon, Yann Queinnec, SHERPA

L’ambition du présent Cahier de propositions est d’expliquer les contraintes et de dessiner des propositions pour une régulation des entreprises transnationales. Elle implique de dresser au préalable un état des lieux des obstacles fondamentaux qui rendent la question de la régulation de l’activité des ETN si problématique. Lacrise du système financier, qui frappe l’ensemble des économies du globe, a montré l’enjeu que représente la régulation d’acteurs transnationaux privés ou publics à but lucratif...Nous ne pouvons nous résoudre au statu quo. Les inégalités de richesse ou d’accès au savoir, la sécurité alimentaire ou l’accès à l’eau, sont autant de défis...sur lesquels les entreprises transnationales ont une influence stratégique.

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Article
31 May 2010

[PDF] Think globally, sue locally: Out-of-court tactics employed by plaintiffs, their lawyers, and their advocates in transnational tort cases

Author: Jonathan Drimmer, Steptoe & Johnson, released by U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

Over the past 15 years, there has been a sharp rise in lawsuits brought against United States companies, as well as foreign companies with a substantial U.S. presence, that are premised on alleged personal or environmental injuries that occur overseas...With increasing frequency, plaintiffs, their attorneys, and their advocates are employing aggressive out-of court tactics that approach, straddle, and sometimes cross ethical lines in seeking to gain litigation advantages....The tactics...have clearly demonstrable patterns. Among them are: Aggressive media tactics...Community organizing tactics...Investment tactics...Political tactics...Fraudulent misconduct...[refers to AirScan, Archer Daniels Midland, Bridgestone, Bridgestone-Firestone (part of Bridgestone), Brylane (part of Pinault Printemps-Redoute), Cargill, Chevron, Chiquita, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Del Monte Foods, Dole, Dow Chemical, Drummond, ExxonMobil, Gap, Gulf Oil, Levi Strauss, Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler), Mobil Oil (part of ExxonMobil), Nestlé, Occidental Petroleum, Petroecuador, Pfizer, PPR (formerly Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), Rio Tinto, Shell, Target, Texaco (part of Chevron), Union Carbide (part of Dow), Unocal (part of Chevron), Wal-Mart, Yahoo!]

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Author: Association Sherpa

Sommaire…La Responsabilité sociétale des Entreprises Transnationales…Les Entreprises Transnationales et leur Sphère d’Influence…La Déclaration Tripartite de l’OIT à l’Intention des entreprises multinationales…Les Principes Directeurs de L’OCDE à l’attention des entreprises multinationales…L’Autorégulation par les Codes de Conduite…L’Information Sociale et Environnementale des Entreprises Transnationales…L’Alien Tort Claim Act : un juge américain pour les victimes…La Responsabilité Juridique des Entreprises Transnationales. [fait référence à Chevron, Citigroup, Crédit Suisse, Coca-Cola, Del Monte, ExxonMobil, Ford, Nike,Price Waterhouse, Talisman Energy, Texaco (partie de Chevron), Total, Union Carbide (partie de Dow), Unocal (partie de Chevron)]

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Article
1 January 2010

[PDF] Human Rights Due Diligence: Is It Too Risky? [scroll to p. 6]

Author: John F. Sherman, III, Harvard Kennedy School; Amy K. Lehr, Foley Hoag law firm, in CSR Journal, ABA Section of Intl. Law (American Bar Assn.)

Due diligence can and should now be used to assess and reduce a business risk that was only explicitly recognized
as a risk quite recently--corporate involvement in human rights abuse... Under this framework [of UN Special Representative John Ruggie], the business responsibility to respect human rights requires companies to conduct human rights due diligence... Conducting due diligence provides corporate boards with strong protection against mismanagement claims by shareholders, usually in the form of derivative lawsuits. [article addresses concerns that due diligence might increase risks from Alien Tort Statute claims, negligence claims, misrepresentation claims, confidentiality obligations; argument that conducting due diligence should result in immunity. Refers to apartheid reparations lawsuits, Chevron lawsuit re Nigeria, Unocal lawsuit re Burma, ExxonMobil lawsuit re Aceh, Nike v Kasky, UK OECD Guidelines cases involving Afrimex, Vedanta]

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Article
28 October 2008

[PDF] Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launches world’s first online portal profiling human rights lawsuits against companies

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Today the non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launches a free online portal – the first to bring together and demystify lawsuits from across the world alleging human rights abuses by companies. The portal summarises in non-legal language over 35 cases and the positions of each side, with more cases to be added soon. It also presents special commentaries by experts...Companies in profiled lawsuits include: AngloGold Ashanti, Barclays, BHP Billiton, Biwater, Blackwater, BP, Cambior, Cape PLC, Chevron/Texaco, Chiquita, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Dow/Union Carbide, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, Firestone, Ford, Freeport-McMoRan, IBM, Mitsubishi, Nike, Occidental, Rio Tinto, Severstal, Shell, Standard Chartered, Talisman, Trafigura, Total, UBS, Wal-Mart, Yahoo!

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Article
19 December 2006

A Federal Court of Appeals Revives a Class Action Seeking Compensation for Slavery in America

Author: Anthony J Sebok, in FindLaw

Efforts to hold corporate America accountable for slavery got an unexpected boost last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit revived a massive class action litigation that had been dismissed by a federal district court in Chicago...When the suits were first filed, in 2002, the plaintiffs emphasized the human rights dimension of the injuries for which they were suing. The complaints emphasized, for example, that slavery was a violation of customary international law, regardless of the fact that it may have been legal in certain states when it occurred...As amended, the plaintiffs' complaint dropped all references to violations of human rights, and based the claim for compensation, instead, on much more conventional legal claims for property and personal injury. [refers to CSX, Aetna, FleetBoston (now part of Bank of America). Also refers to Nike v. Kasky, Oliveira v. Amoco Oil lawsuits]

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Article
1 October 2006

[PDF] What's wrong with Corporate Social Responsibility?

Author: Corporate Watch (UK)

This report aims to critique not only the practice of CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility], but also the concept. Many commentators, despairing at the fact that companies have failed to clean up their act despite so many claims of social responsibility, say that companies need to return to the point of what CSR was supposed to be all about...These commentators miss the fact that CSR was, is and always will be about avoiding regulations, covering up the damage corporations cause to society and the environment and maintaining public co-operation wth the corporate dominated system...[refers to Tesco, McDonald's, BP, Reebok, Nestlé, Alcan, Shell, Enron, Alcoa, Toyota, Coca-Cola, British American Tobacco, BT, John Lewis]

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Author: Utopies, SustainAbility, Programme des Nations Unies pour l'Environnement (PNUE)

Alors que la loi sur les nouvelles régulations économiques prend de l'importance, le reporting de développement durable des entreprises françaises a gagné en maturité...Concernant les principales avancées, on peut noter d'une part les progrès des entreprises pour rendre compte de leur système de gouvernance même s'il reste des progrès à faire; d'autre part, les progrès pour définir les outils et les techniques utilisés afin d'aborder les enjeux pertinents à leur secteur d'activité. [étude porte sur Accor, Aéroports de Paris (ADP), AGF, Air France KLM, Air Liquide, Alcan, Alcatel, Alstom, Altadis, Alten, Altran, April Group, Arcelor, Areva, ASF (Autoroutes du Sud de la France), Assystem, Atos Origin, Auchan, Aventis, Axa, Bacou-Dalloz, Bénéteau, Bic, Bonduelle, Business Objects, BNP Paribas, Bouygues, Caisse d'Epargne, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), Camaïeu (filiale de Cinven), Capgemini, Carbone Lorraine, Carrefour, Casino, Ciments Français, Clarins, Club Med, CNP Assurances, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Lyonnais (partie du Crédit Agricole), Danone, Dassault, Dexia, EADS, EDF, Eiffage, Elior, Equant (partie de France Telecom), Essilor, Euler Hermes, Eurazeo, Eurodisney, Euronext, Eurotunnel, Facom, Faurecia, Fimalac, Foncières Lyonnaises, Française des Jeux, France Telecom, France Télévisions, Galeries Lafayette, Gaz de France, Gecina, Gemplus, Générale de Santé, Géophysique CGG, GFI Informatique, Grandvision, Groupama, Groupe Steria, Guyenne & Gascogne, Havas, Hermès, Infogrammes, Imerys, Ingenico, Intermarché, Ipsos, JC Decaux, Klépierre, Keolis, L'Oréal, La Poste, Lafarge, Lagardère, Leclerc, LVMH, M6, Malongo, Marionnaud, Medidep, Metaleurop, Michelin, Monoprix, Natixis, Nature & Découvertes, Neopost, Nexans, Norauto, Nouvelle Economie Fraternelle, NRJ, Oberthur Card System, Orange, Pages Jaunes, Pernord Ricard, Peugeot (partie de PSA Peugeot Citroën), Pierre & Vacances, Pinguely Haulotte, Provimi, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Publicis, PPR, RATP, Rémy Cointreau, Renault, Réseau Ferré de France, Rhodia, Rodriguez, Safran, Sagem, Saint Gobain, Schneider, Scor, Seb, SES Global FDR, SNCF, Société Générale, Sodexho, Soitec, Sophia, Sopra, Spir Communication, SR Teleperformance, ST Microelectronics, Suez, Technip (Technip Coflexip), TF1, Thales, Thomson, Total, Transiciel, Trigano, Ubisoft, Unibail, Unilog, Valeo, Vallourec, Vinci, Veolia Environnement, Vivendi Universal, Wanadoo (partie de France Telecom), Wavecom, Wendel, Zodiac. Cite également BBC, Ben & Jerry's, Body Shop, BP, British Airports Authority (BAA), British American Tobacco, BT, Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) (part of Co-operative Group), Enron, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, HP, IBM, Justassurance, Kesko, Lu (partie de Danone), Marks & Spencer, Monsanto, MTN, Natura, Nike, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Rabobank, RWE, Sasol, Shell, Statoil, Unilever, Worldcom (now MCI)]

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