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Unrealistic Pleading Standards: Another Injustice for Human Rights Victims

Author: Sophia Cope, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Published on: 30 July 2015

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to human rights victims when it dismissed Balintulo v. Ford Motor Co. this week. The appellate court…[applied] an unrealistically and unfairly high pleading standard to a case brought by black South Africans against IBM Corp. and Ford Motor Co. for their roles in facilitating apartheid. In February, we filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ case against IBM…We believe strongly in innovation and the power of technology to be a force for good…As we said in our amicus brief, “U.S. corporations should not enjoy immunity for their purposeful assistance, technological or otherwise, in gross human rights violations . . . Technology has the capacity to protect human rights, but it also can be customized to make violations ruthlessly efficient.”

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