Human Rights Litigation

Chiquita Liable for Financing Colombian Paramilitary Death Squads

In a win for international human rights advocacy, a Florida jury has found a U.S. corporation liable for human rights violations committed in a foreign country. This first of three “bellwether” trials involved nine cases. Hundreds remain to be tried in this multidistrict litigation. The jury’s verdict is the latest development in a civil case…

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Residents of Gaza Sue President Biden

Israeli tank protecting a settlement in the Jordan Valley, West Bank

The Ninth Circuit is considering a case designed to force the Biden administration to “take all measures within their power to exert influence over Israel to end its bombing of the Palestinian people of Gaza.” Oral argument is scheduled for June 9, 2024. Allegations The plaintiffs are several NGOs, individual Palestinian residents of Gaza, and…

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Transnational Corporate Accountability Through American Corporate Law

To those who view the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) as a beacon of American justice for foreign victims of corporate misconduct, the landscape looks bleak. In the latest ATS case decided in 2021, the Supreme Court held in Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe that plaintiffs, who were allegedly trafficked as children to engage in slave…

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D.C. Circuit Defines “Venture” Under the TVPRA

On March 5, 2024, the D.C. Circuit issued its long-awaited opinion in Doe v. Apple, a suit against U.S. tech companies seeking to hold them liable under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) for forced labor and human trafficking used to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). (Disclosure: I joined…

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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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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

Melissa Stewart

Georgetown University Law Center
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Matt Slovin

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Noah Buyon

Duke University School of Law
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Will Moon

University of Maryland
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William K. McGoughran

Vanderbilt Law School
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Chimène Keitner

UC Davis School of Law
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Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Justin R. Rassi

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Isabelle Glimcher

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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