Professor John Knox quoted in Legal Times regarding U.S. Supreme Court decision on human rights

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered reargument in a major challenge involving lawsuits against corporations for human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute.

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum originally asked the justices whether corporations could be sued under the 1798 federal law. That question was argued on Feb. 28. In Monday’s order, the justices directed the parties to file supplemental briefs on whether the statute allows federal courts to hear lawsuits alleging international law violations that occur outside of the territory of the United States.

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) authorizes federal district courts to hear civil actions by aliens for torts committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.

The extraterritoriality issue was not considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in the Kiobel case. The federal appellate court held that corporations could not be sued under the statute.

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