U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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Case Updates

Ninth Circuit refuses to reconsider Alien Tort Statute ruling, which is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court Kiobel decision

May 06, 2015

Click here to view the order denying defendants’ panel rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief supporting petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc

October 27, 2014

Click here to view the brief.

Revised panel opinion issued

September 04, 2014

The panel affirmed the decision holding that there is no categorical rule of corporate immunity or liability. Rather, for each ATS claim asserted by the plaintiffs, a court should look to international law and determine whether corporations are subject to the norms underlying that claim. The panel held that determining when a corporation can be held liable requires a court to apply customary international law to determine the nature and scope of the norm underlying the plaintiffs’ claim, and domestic tort law to determine whether recovery from the corporation is permissible.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief supporting petition for rehearing

January 21, 2014

In its brief, the U.S. Chamber urged the Ninth Circuit to hold that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) does not permit the exercise of jurisdiction over claims against corporations based on their commercial relationships with foreign companies. Although the Chamber took no position on the factual allegations in this case, the Chamber’s brief made it clear that the Chamber unequivocally condemns forced labor practices. However, the question at issue in this case is not whether such wrongs occurred but rather it is whether private plaintiffs can stretch a U.S. statute beyond its explicit and intended scope. According to the Chamber's amicus brief, the plaintiffs’ legal theory effectively makes United States companies liable for their mere commercial relationships with foreign partners, which discourages essential investment in developing countries. The Chamber also argued that such liability places United States companies at a competitive disadvantage, and expansive assertions of jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute discourages foreign investment in the United States. Moreover, allowing ATS suits directed at corporations based on their lawful commercial activities overseas ensnares them in costly and damaging attacks on their reputations, and can expose U.S. companies to abusive, burdensome and diplomatically sensitive discovery.

Peter B. Rutledge of the University of Georgia served as co-counsel to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

Petition for rehearing filed

January 09, 2014

Click here to view the petition.

Ninth Circuit reverses dismissal of this case and grants plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint

December 19, 2013

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief in Alien Tort Statute case

October 07, 2011

Click here to view the brief.

Case Documents