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United States Second Circuit, 07/28/2015
Balintulo v. Ford Motor Co., No. 14-4104
In a suit filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) against various corporations for allegedly aiding and abetting crimes proscribed by “the law of nations” committed during apartheid by the South African government against South Africans within South Africa’s sovereign territory, the district court’s latest decision in this long-standing litigation is affirmed where: 1) knowledge of or complicity in the perpetration of a crime under the law of nations (customary international law), absent evidence that a defendant purposefully facilitate the commission of that crime, is insufficient to establish a claim of aiding and abetting liability under the ATS; 2) it is not a violation of the law of nations to bid on, and lose, a contract that arguably would help a sovereign government perpetrate an asserted violation of the law of nations; 3) allegations of general corporate supervision are insufficient to rebut the presumption against extraterritoriality and establish aiding and abetting liability under the ATS; and 4) here, plaintiffs’ amended pleadings do not establish federal jurisdiction under the ATS because they do not plausibly allege that the defendant companies themselves engaged in any “relevant conduct” within the US to overcome the presumption against extraterritorial application of the ATS. Read More