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September 30, 2012
Posted by Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein
Supreme Court to Hear Major Human Rights Case Again: Much More at Stake the Second Time Around
The Supreme Court will open its new term on Monday. The first argument it hears will be Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., the most significant human rights case to reach the Court in recent years. Intense interest in the case has generated more than 80 amicus curiae briefs from a range of actors around the world, including governments, human rights organizations, and corporations. Kiobel is especially intriguing not only because of the human rights issues at stake, but also because it will be the Court’s secondtime hearing oral argument in the matter. This is a rarity; the last example was Citizen United, the major campaign finance case.
What are the issues?
Kiobel is an Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) suit based on a 1789 statute that allows non-U.S. citizens to bring civil claims in U.S. federal courts for universally recognized violations of international law. The case arises out of allegations that Royal Dutch/Shell was complicit in killings and other abuses by the Nigerian government in the 1990s. The Court first heard Kiobel last February, addressing the question of whether corporations can be held liable under the statute. But in an unusual move, a week later the Court requested supplemental briefing and a second oral argument.
March 7, 2011
Posted by Susan Farbstein
Please join us today, March 8, for a talk with Paul Hoffman, Lead Counsel in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain.
Paul is the leading Alien Tort Statute (ATS) litigator in the country, serving as counsel in numerous corporate cases including Unocal, Wiwa, Apartheid, Talisman, and Kiobel, and arguing Sosa before the Supreme Court. Today, from 2:30-4:00 pm in Pound 335, he will speak with us about the future of corporate ATS litigation in the wake of Kiobel, the Second Circuit’s recent decision finding that corporations cannot be held liable under the statute.
After 15 years of ATS litigation against corporations complicit in human rights violations, resulting in several notable settlements, Kiobel represents a major departure in the jurisprudence. At this particularly interesting moment, it really will be a privilege to hear Paul’s thoughts about where the courts are headed and what Kiobel means for future efforts to hold corporations accountable when they aid and abet violations of fundamental human rights.
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