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US Supreme Court issues decision in Kiobel v. Shell - Alien Tort Claims Act does not apply extraterritorially, affirms dismissal of case

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19 April 2013

[PDF] A Quick and Dirty Q&A about the US Supreme Court’s Kiobel Decision

Author: Chip Pitts, Stanford Law School

The following is a “quick and dirty” Q&A (lightly edited including for clarity and to correct typos) regarding the Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision, which dismissed the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case against Royal Dutch Shell on grounds that the statute did not reach extraterritorial conduct abroad. The Q&A captures the essence of an exchange which occurred on social media during the first couple of hours after the decision was handed down...[This] interesting exchange advances understanding about certain key aspects of the decision...[Questions answered:]...didn't all nine judges have the same view? So are all nine judges just pro-corporate?...[Why] didn't Justice Breyer and the three other “liberals” who didn’t agree with the majority opinion’s full restrictions on extraterritorial application of ATS write a robust dissent?...[Didn't the] existence [of the ATS] prevent...other countries from developing their own jurisprudence[?]...

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17 April 2013

Companies Shielded as U.S. Court Cuts Human-Rights Suits

Author: Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court insulated multinational corporations from some lawsuits over atrocities abroad, scaling back a favorite legal tool of human rights activists. The justices threw out a suit accusing two foreign-based units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc of facilitating torture and execution in Nigeria. The majority said the 1789 Alien Tort Statute generally doesn’t apply to conduct beyond U.S. borders. In the Shell case, “all of the relevant conduct took place outside the United States,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. The justices were unanimous on the outcome in the Shell case, while dividing in their reasoning… Human-rights advocates said before the Supreme Court decision that a ruling favoring Shell would undermine the ability of atrocity victims to hold their perpetrators accountable. Alleged victims have invoked the law more than 150 times in the past 20 years. [Also refers to ExxonMobil, Cisco, Chiquita, Siemens, Daimler, Rio Tinto]

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17 April 2013

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

Author: US Supreme Court

[Full text of US Supreme Court's opinion in Kiobel v. Shell.]

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26 August 2003

company website: Citigroup

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