Alien Tort Statute

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Alien Tort Statute

Summary: Supreme Court Rules in Jesner v. Arab Bank

This Tuesday, the Supreme Court held in Jesner et al. v. Arab Bank, PLC that the federal courts are not available to aliens in actions against foreign corporations.

In a 5-4 vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing the majority opinion, the court affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s dismissal of the case and held that aliens cannot bring suit under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) against foreign corporations.

Procedural History

Alien Tort Statute

Jesner v. Arab Bank: The Supreme Court Should Not Miss the Opportunity to Clarify the “Touch and Concern” Test

In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the Supreme Court held that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) is presumed not to apply to conduct on the territory of another country unless the plaintiff’s claims “touch and concern” the United States with sufficient force to overcome that presumption. For the last four years, plaintiffs, defendants and courts have struggled to define the contours of the Supreme Court’s cryptic “touch and concern” standard.

Interrogation: Interrogation Abuses: Civil Liability

Salim v. Mitchell: ATS Suit Against CIA Contractors Survives Second Motion to Dismiss

The jurisdictional and procedural barriers are high for plaintiffs seeking to hold individuals liable for post-9/11 U.S. counterterrorism programs. But a torture suit brought by alien plaintiffs against two American CIA contractors seems likely to reach a trial on the merits after surviving a second motion to dismiss last Friday.

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