US appeals court rules lawsuit against Daimler over alleged abuses against workers during Argentine "Dirty War" can be heard in US court

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18 May 2011

Daimler must face Argentina abuse lawsuit in US

Author: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Daimler AG was ordered on Wednesday to face a U.S. lawsuit alleging it participated in the kidnapping, torture and death of Mercedes-Benz workers in Argentina's "Dirty War" three decades ago. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals…revived a seven-year-old case brought by 22 residents of Argentina, including victims of violence and relatives of former workers presumed to have been killed. The panel said a federal judge erred in 2007 when he decided he lacked jurisdiction, and that the case should be brought in Argentina or Germany…The panel sent the case back to the federal district court in San Jose, California. "Daimler AG intends to appeal this jurisdictional decision," spokesman Han Tjan said in an email. "However, no ruling or judgment has been made as to the underlying allegations, which Daimler AG steadfastly denies."

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18 May 2011

[PDF] Bauman, et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation, et al. - Opinion

Author: US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Plaintiffs-Appellants (the “plaintiffs”), twenty-two Argentinian residents, bring suit against DaimlerChrysler Aktiengesellschaft (DCAG) alleging that one of DCAG’s subsidiaries, Mercedes-Benz Argentina (MBA) collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture, and kill the plaintiffs and/or their relatives during Argentina’s “Dirty War.”…The only question before us is whether the district court had personal jurisdiction over DCAG. The district court granted DCAG’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of such jurisdiction. We conclude, however, that DCAG was subject to personal jurisdiction in California through the contacts of its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA). We hold that MBUSA was DCAG’s agent, at least for personal jurisdictional purposes, and that exercise of personal jurisdiction was reasonable under the circumstances of this case.

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