Perfil de demanda judicial contra Daimler por actividades en Argentina

Daimler Nameplate by Andy C

For an English-language version of this case profile, please click here.

Für die deutsche Beschreibung des Falles, klicken Sie bitte hier.

En 2004, 23 ciudadanos argentinos instauraron una demanda, con fundamento en la Ley de Reclamación por Agravios contra Extranjeros (Alien Tort Claims Act – ATCA) y la Ley de Protección a Víctimas de la Tortura, contra DaimlerChrysler AG (actualmente solo llamada Daimler) en el tribunal federal de Estados Unidos en California. Los demandantes alegaron que una de las subsidiarias de Daimler, Mercedes Benz Argentina, había colaborado con las fuerzas de seguridad para secuestrar, detener, torturar y asesinar a los demandantes o a sus familiares cercanos, quienes trabajaban para Mercedes Benz Argentina, durante la dictadura militar argentina que duró desde 1976 hasta 1983. En el 2005, Daimler instauró una petición para desestimar el caso por falta de “jurisdicción personal” en California. La jurisdicción personal requiere un número mínimo de contactos entre el demandado y el Estado donde se instaura la demanda. Daimler, con sede principal en Alemania, argumentó que no podía ser demandada en California únicamente por el hecho de que su subsidiaria, Mercedes Benz USA, tenía dos oficinas en ese Estado.

El 22 de noviembre de 2005, el tribunal federal falló a favor de Daimler, desestimando la demanda por falta de jurisdicción personal, con fundamento en que Daimler no tenía “contacto continuo y sistemático” con Mercedes Benz USA. Los demandantes apelaron, y el tribunal de apelación revocó la decisión de la instancia inferior el 18 de mayo de 2011, argumentando que Daimler estaba sujeta a jurisdicción personal en el Estado de California. Adicionalmente, argumentó que los tribunales argentinos podrían concluir que los demandantes esperaron mucho tiempo para demandar, y que no era claro si los tribunales alemanes considerarían la demanda. El caso fue reenviado al tribunal federal para procesarlo de nuevo.

En febrero de 2012, Daimler apeló frente a la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos. El 19 de abril de 2013 la Corte Suprema aceptó dicho recurso, y el 14 de enero de 2014 revocó la decisión del tribunal federal de apelaciones, y dictaminó que Daimler no tenía suficientes lazos con el Estado de California y por lo tanto los tribunales carecían de jurisdicción para conocer del caso.

- "La Corte de EE.UU. rechazó un juicio contra Mercedes-Benz por derechos humanos en la Argentina", IECO-Clarín.com, 14 enero 2014
- “La Corte de EE.UU. trata la denuncia a Daimler”, La Nación, 23 abril 2013
- [EN] “Daimler Gets Supreme Court Hearing on Human-Rights Suit”, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg, 22 Apr 2013
- “Juicio civil a Mercedes Benz por favorecer la represión”, Télam, 12 noviembre 2011
- [EN] “Daimler Loses Bid for Review of Argentine Rights Case Ruling", Karen Gullo, Bloomberg, 9 Nov 2011
- [EN] “Daimler must face Argentina abuse lawsuit in US”, Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 18 May 2011
- “Con expertise represivo internacional", Gustavo Veiga, Página 12, 1 diciembre 2009
- [EN] “DaimlerChrysler Wins on Human Rights Appeal”, Kate Moser, Law.com, 1 Sep 2009
- “En EU, juicio contra Mercedes-Benz implicada en la desaparición de obreros durante la dictadura”, Milenio, 22 abril 2008
- “Demanda contra gigante automotriz”, BBC Mundo, 15 enero 2004

- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: Corporation and Dictatorships

- [EN] [PDF] "Daimler AG v. Bauman et al. - Opinion", US Supreme Court, 14 Jan 2014 [veredicto revoca la decisión del Tribunal de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito de los Estados Unidos]
- [EN] [PDF] "Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. – Order", US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 9 Nov 2011 [se ordena denegar la petición de nueva audiencia]
- [EN] [PDF] “Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. - Opinion”, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 18 May 2011 [decisión establece jurisdicción personal de la corte sobre el demandado]
- [EN] [PDF] “Bauman et al v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. - Opinion” US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 28 Aug 2009 (decisión retirada posteriormente) [decisión confirma sentencia de primera instancia que rechazó el caso]

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Artículo
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Autor(a): Kate Moser, Recorder [USA]

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court decision in favor of DaimlerChrysler AG in a lawsuit that alleged a subsidiary of the corporation committed human rights violations in 1970s and '80s Argentina…Northern District of California Judge Ronald Whyte was right to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction over Germany-based DaimlerChrysler AG, Judge Dorothy Nelson wrote in the opinion, also noting that the appellants could file claims in Germany and Argentina…In 2004, 23 Argentinian residents and citizens sued DaimlerChrysler under the Alien Tort Claims Act, alleging that security forces of the military regime had kidnapped, detained or tortured them…at the direction of another DaimlerChrysler AG subsidiary, Mercedes Benz Argentina.

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Autor(a): 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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Autor(a): 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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Autor(a): Karen Gullo, Bloomberg

Daimler AG lost its bid to have a U.S. appeals court review a ruling that it must face claims that its Argentine Mercedes-Benz unit collaborated with state security forces to kill and torture workers in the so-called Dirty War. A majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco today denied the carmaker’s request to have a larger panel of judges review a decision by three of its judges in May. That panel allowed a lawsuit by Argentine workers and their families…against the…company to proceed…Daimler denies wrongdoing…Daimler plans to seek review of the case in the U.S. Supreme Court, said Han Tjan, a Daimler spokesman.

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Artículo
21 March 2012

El poder económico detrás del poder militar [Argentina]

Autor(a): Alejandra Dandan, Página 12 [Argentina]

…Ahora empieza a verse el avance [de investigaciones] sobre…el poder económico detrás del poder militar. Ese es el eje de la marcha de este 24 de marzo, impulsada por…organismos de derechos humanos…Hay dos conceptos: por un lado, una dictadura con un poder destructivo…[con] acciones terroristas brutales, y por otro, el hecho de que la dictadura fue fundacional…[para] “un nuevo modelo de país”…Algunas…[causas] cuestionan ese aspecto…como los casos…de Papel Prensa y Acindar…Otras denuncian…torturas, secuestros y asesinatos en los que participaron empresarios…[en que] se advierten dos tipos: las…[de] capitales nacionales –como…ingenio Ledesma…La Veloz del Norte en Salta o la sentencia…sobre el directorio de Loma Negra en un juicio…[con] datos sobre otras cementeras y empresas del emporio Techint– y las de compañías multinacionales, como la Ford Motor Argentina o Mercedes-Benz [parte de Daimler]...[Se refiere también a Banco Comercial de Tandil]

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Artículo
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Autor(a): Marcelo Saguier, National Science and Technology Research Council (CONICET) and Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO)

The linkages between corporations and human rights have been addressed…mostly as a regulatory challenge...In addition to a responsible and accountable private sector, the promotion of human rights also requires the active role of the state…[The] agenda of corporate responsibility with human rights in Latin America is also shaped by international normative processes, such as the UN Secretary-General Special Representative’s…framework. This opened the discussion of what constitutes corporate complicity with human rights and how to differentiate between public and private responsibilities…However, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises provide an instrument of accountability that has been used by claimants seeking to redress corporate abuses…[refers to Nidera, Nestlé, Drummond, Chiquita, DaimlerChrysler]

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Autor(a): 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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Autor(a): Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider giving companies new protection from human-rights suits, agreeing to hear a Daimler AG appeal stemming from allegations that a company unit collaborated in torture and killings in Argentina. The German automaker is being sued under the Alien Tort Statute, a law the Supreme Court scaled back last week in a victory for corporations. The Daimler appeal doesn’t directly concern that law, instead contending that the company lacks sufficient ties to California to give courts there the authority to hear the case...Daimler’s Argentine Mercedes-Benz unit is accused of collaborating with state security forces during the so-called Dirty War from 1976 to 1983…The company denies the allegations.

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Autor(a): Michael Bobelian, Forbes

DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman, which the Court will hear in its next term, asks the Court to resolve a different but related question: can an American court exercise jurisdiction “over a foreign corporation based solely on the fact that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant” in the United States? The plaintiffs in the case have accused an Argentinean subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler…of collaborating with Argentinean officials in kidnapping, torturing, and killing former employees of the subsidiary. They sued DaimlerChrysler, a German company, in California by obtaining jurisdiction through the automaker’s American subsidiary…[T]he justices could use the case as an opportunity to redefine the jurisdictional reach of American courts over large-scale corporations.

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Demanda
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Autor(a): Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In 2004, 23 Argentinian citizens filed a complaint under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act against DaimlerChrysler AG (now Daimler) in US federal court in California.  They alleged that one of Daimler’s subsidiaries, Mercedes Benz Argentina, had collaborated with state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture and kill the plaintiffs or their close relatives, who were employees of Mercedes Benz Argentina, during Argentina’s military dictatorship, which ruled from 1976-1983.  In 2005, Daimler filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of “personal jurisdiction” in California.  Personal jurisdiction requires a certain minimum level of contacts between the defendant and the state in which the suit is filed.  Daimler, headquartered in Germany, argued that it could not be sued in California solely based on the fact that its subsidiary, Mercedes Benz USA, had two offices in the state.

On 22 November 2005, the district court granted Daimler’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that Daimler did not have “continuous and systematic contacts” with Mercedes Benz USA.  The plaintiffs appealed, and the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision on 18 May 2011, arguing that Daimler was subject to personal jurisdiction in California.  In addition, it argued that Argentinian courts would conclude the plaintiffs waited too long to sue, and that it was unclear whether German courts would consider the plaintiffs' claims.  The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

In February 2012, Daimler appealed to the US Supreme Court.  On 19 April 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.  On 14 January 2014, the Supreme Court reverted the federal appeals court decision, and ruled that Daimler did not have enough ties with California for courts to hear the case.

- "U.S. top court curbs human rights claims in Daimler ruling", Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, 14 Jan 2014
- [ES] "La Corte de EE.UU. rechazó un juicio contra Mercedes-Benz por derechos humanos en la Argentina", IECO-Clarín.com, 14 enero 2014
- [FR] "Abus de Mercedes en Argentine: Daimler ne peut être poursuivi aux USA", AFP, 14 janvier 2014
- [ES]  “La Corte de EE.UU. trata la denuncia a Daimler, La Nación, 23 abril 2013
- “Daimler Gets Supreme Court Hearing on Human-Rights Suit”, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg, 22 Apr 2013
- [FR] « La Cour suprême américaine dira si Daimler AG peut être poursuivi  », Agence France-Presse, 22 avril 2013
- [ES] “Juicio civil a Mercedes Benz por favorecer la represión”, Télam, 12 noviembre 2011
- “Daimler Loses Bid for Review of Argentine Rights Case Ruling", Karen Gullo, Bloomberg, 9 Nov 2011
- “Daimler must face Argentina abuse lawsuit in US”, Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 18 May 2011
- [ES] “Con expertise represivo internacional", Gustavo Veiga, Página 12, 1 diciembre 2009
- “DaimlerChrysler Wins on Human Rights Appeal”, Kate Moser, Law.com, 1 Sep 2009
- [ES] “En EU, juicio contra Mercedes-Benz implicada en la desaparición de obreros durante la dictadura”, Milenio, 22 abril 2008
- “DaimlerChrysler sued over alleged Argentine abuses”, Pablo Bachelet, Global Policy Forum, 14 Jan 2004
- [ES] “Demanda contra gigante automotriz”, BBC Mundo, 15 enero 2004

- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: Corporation and Dictatorships

- [PDF] "Daimler AG v. Bauman et al. - Opinion", US Supreme Court, 14 Jan 2014 [opinion reversing US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision]
- [PDF] "Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. – Order", US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 9 Nov 2011 [order denying petition for rehearing]
- [PDF] “Bauman et al. v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. - Opinion”, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 18 May 2011 [opinion finding court has personal jurisdiction over defendant]
- [PDF] “Bauman et al v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation et al. - Opinion” US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 28 Aug 2009 (decision later withdrawn) [opinion upholding lower court’s dismissal of case]