US federal court dismisses apartheid claims against Daimler & Rheinmetall; court declines to dismiss claims against Ford & IBM
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Author: Nate Raymond, Reuters
A U.S. judge on Thursday said Daimler AG and Rheinmetall AG cannot be held liable for allegedly aiding and abetting South Africa's former apartheid government in race-based attacks and injustices. The plaintiffs in the case accused the two German companies, as well as…Ford Motor Co and IBM Corp, of facilitating race-based crimes by selling products…to South African security forces during apartheid. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin…said the German companies could not be sued under…the Alien Tort Statute, allowing non-U.S. citizens to bring cases in U.S. courts over violations of international law. Scheindlin said the plaintiffs failed to show that the facts of the case "touch and concern the United States with sufficient force" to justify the law's use. She declined, however, to immediately dismiss related claims against Ford and IBM.
Author: Judge Shira Scheindlin, US District Court for the Southern District of New York
Based on the arguments submitted in the letters summarized above, I conclude that it is appropriate to provide plaintiffs an opportunity to brief the issue of whether a corporation may be liable for a violation of the [Alien Tort Statute]. I reach this conclusion based on the Second Circuit's recent decision in Licci to refer the issue of corporate liability under the ATS to the district court, despite the Second Circuit's 2010 decision in Kiobel. Because I also conclude that plaintiffs have failed to show that they could plausibly plead that the actions of Daimler or Rhinematall- the foreign defendants - touch and concern the United States with sufficient force to rebut the presumption against the extraterritorial reach of the ATS, these defendants are hereby DISMISSED.
Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre case profile for lawsuit against 20 banks and corporations regarding reparations for alleged complicity of the defendants in abuses committed by the South African Apartheid regime.]
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