Human Rights Litigation

Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2023

The thirty-seventh annual survey on choice of law in the American courts is now available on SSRN. The survey covers significant cases decided in 2023 on choice of law, party autonomy, extraterritoriality, international human rights, foreign sovereign immunity, adjudicative jurisdiction, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. So, on this leap day, we thought…

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Latest Developments in Ecuadorian Toxic Tort Case

Since at least the early 1990s, Central and South American residents have been litigating in U.S. courts about their exposure to toxic pesticide called dibromochloropropane (“DBCP”). In the latest decision, Marquínez v. Dole Food Company, Judges Andrews in the District of Delaware held that a consolidated action on behalf of 65 Ecuadorian banana plant workers…

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Proposed Legislation to Amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Representatives Adam Schiff, Betty McCollum, and Gerry Connolly have introduced the  Jamal Khashoggi Protection of Activists and Press Freedom Act of 2023.  The purpose of the legislation is to protect free speech advocates and journalists. The press release announcing the draft legislation notes the murder five years ago of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “at the hands…

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Using TLB to Teach Foreign Relations Law

This post discusses Foreign Relations Law as part of our series explaining how professors can use resources on TLB to teach various classes. Previous posts have discussed Transnational Litigation, Civil Procedure, International Business Transactions, and Conflict of Laws. Although TLB focuses on litigation, and Foreign Relations Law classes cover many topics that are rarely litigated, there is significant…

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Congress Amends the TVPRA to Correct Ninth Circuit’s Erroneous Ruling in Ratha

Last year, in Ratha v. Phatthana Seafood, the Ninth Circuit held that civil liability under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) does not extend to those who attempt to benefit from forced labor. After the court denied en banc review, the Human Trafficking Legal Center and other human and workers’ rights organizations asked Congress…

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Ninth Circuit Allows Human Rights Claims Against Cisco to Proceed

There may yet be life in the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The Ninth Circuit recently held, in Doe I v. Cisco Systems, Inc., that Chinese practitioners of Falun Gong could go forward with claims of aiding and abetting human rights violations against Cisco Systems, which designed and built a surveillance system for the People’s Republic…

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Throwback Thursday: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

Ten years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., applying the presumption against extraterritoriality to the implied cause of action for human rights violations under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In Kiobel, the Court began to whittle down the cause of action it had…

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Boston Jury Awards $15.5 Million in a Transnational Human Rights Case

Last month we reported on a sensible decision by Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the District of Massachusetts rejecting a defendant’s vague invocations of international comity as a basis for abstention. That decision cleared the way for trial on the plaintiffs’ claims that the defendant, Jean Morose Viliena, targeted them and their families for extrajudicial…

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Throwback Thursday: Professor William Casto on the Origins of the Alien Tort Statute

In the spring of 1986, Professor William Casto published an article in the Connecticut Law Review entitled The Federal Courts’ Protective Jurisdiction Over Torts Committed in Violation of the Law of Nations. Casto’s article was the first to explore the origins of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) in detail, and despite the many law reviewpages…

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Officials Who Kidnapped Hotel Rwanda Hero Are Not Immune from Suit

In 1994, Paul Rusesabagina was the manager of a hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. During the genocide, he sheltered 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees, all of whom survived. His courage inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” and in 2005 President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Rusesabagina became a human rights advocate and vocal critic…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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Chukwuma Okoli

University of Birmingham
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Abubakri Yekini

University of Manchester
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Haley Anderson

University of California Berkeley
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Brian D. Hulse

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
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Wenliang Zhang

Renmin University of China Law School
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Haoxiang Ruan

Renmin University of China Law School
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Melissa Kucinski

MKFL
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