Blog: Business and Human Rights

February 4, 2011

This Just In: Kiobel Petition for Rehearing En Banc Denied

Posted by Susan Farbstein and Tyler Giannini

In a 5-5 split, the Second Circuit today denied the plaintiffs’ petition for rehearing en banc in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.  We’ll be posting more soon on this crucially important case, in which the panel previously decided that corporations cannot be held liable for human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute.  In the meantime, we’re posting today’s orders here and here; they make for fascinating reading.

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February 4, 2011

Child Labor in Liberia: Clinic Files Amicus Curiae Brief In Firestone Case

Posted by Susan Farbstein

The International Human Rights Clinic filed another amicus curiae brief in a major corporate Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case today.  The case, Boimah Flomo v. Firestone Natural Rubber Co., brings claims for child labor on Firestone’s rubber plantation in Liberia, alleging that children as young as five were forced to work long hours; to use dangerous tools and hazardous chemicals that often caused serious injury; and that many were unable to pursue their education as a result of this forced labor.

The Clinic’s amicus brief, filed with the Seventh Circuit on behalf of professors of legal history, argues that the history and purpose of the ATS support what the text explicitly provides: jurisdiction extends to all causes in which an alien sues for a tort in violation of international law, including cases against corporate defendants.  Two other amicus briefs in support of the appeal were filed on behalf of Nuremberg scholars and international law scholars.

As usual, our brief was a team effort.  Tyler Giannini and I worked with clinical students Poppy Alexander, JD ’12, Michael Gibaldi, JD ’12, Ryan Mitchell, JD ’12, Lina Peng, JD ’12, and Marissa Vahlsing, JD ’11, who all contributed to the process.

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