U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



Cert. Denied


Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

June 29, 2010

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief urging clarification of proper standard for corporate liability under Alien Tort Statute

August 10, 2009

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to review an erroneous Second Circuit opinion in order to clarify if and when businesses may be liable for alleged violations of international law in Alien Tort Statute (ATS) cases. The ATS allows foreign plaintiffs to bring suits in American courts for violations of certain international laws. In this case, Nigerian plaintiffs brought a lawsuit under the ATS, claiming that the drug manufacturer Pfizer, in “cooperation” with the Nigerian government, violated an international legal duty to obtain the informed consent of drug trial participants before they may participate in a clinical drug trial. In its amicus brief, NCLC criticized the legal novelty of extending international law - which applies to sovereigns, but rarely to private actors - to private corporations. NCLC warned that the erroneous expansion of corporate liability in ATS suits invites stigmatizing and vexatious litigation that is hard to dismiss even when businesses have done nothing wrong. Such litigation discourages American companies from doing business abroad.

Case Documents