Alien encounters - global companies must be wary of the controversial US Alien Tort Claims Act
In recent years, non-US plaintiffs have increasingly turned to American courts – and a rarely used statute called the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) – in an attempt to hold multinational corporations liable for their alleged responsibility for conduct committed outside the US by others, including genocide, torture, war crimes and other human rights abuses. Recent US court decisions, including an important ruling by a federal appellate court in New York, have signalled what may be a sharp restriction on the ability of plaintiffs to stretch the ATCA to cover alleged violations of international law by corporate defendants. These decisions, however, are far from uniform in their treatment of corporate defendants, strongly suggesting that corporations remain at substantial risk of being hauled to the US courts for alleged human rights abuses committed by others outside the US.
Gibson Dunn’s Lee Dunst and Brian Lutz argue that global companies still need to be wary of the US’ controversial Alien Tort Claims Act
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