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Kiobel V. Royal Dutch Petroleum: The Alien Tort Statute's Jurisdictional Universalism In Retreat, Kenneth Anderson Jan 2013

Kiobel V. Royal Dutch Petroleum: The Alien Tort Statute's Jurisdictional Universalism In Retreat, Kenneth Anderson

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), a long-running Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case brought by Nigerian plaintiffs alleging aiding and abetting liability against various multinational oil companies for human rights violations of the Nigerian government in the 1990s, including a non-US Shell corporation, first came before the US Supreme Court in the 2011-2012 term, following a sweeping Second Circuit holding that there was no "liability for corporations" under the ATS. In oral argument, however, several Justices asked a different question from corporate liability: noting that the case involved foreign plaintiffs, foreign defendants, and conduct taking place entirely on foreign sovereign …


The Supreme Court And The Alien Tort Statute: Kiobel V. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Ingrid W. Brunk Jan 2013

The Supreme Court And The Alien Tort Statute: Kiobel V. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Ingrid W. Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Alien Tort Statute litigation has generated a growing number of questions about the the scope of statute, but in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. the Supreme Court finally answered one of them: the presumption against extraterritoriality applies to the statute. Going forward, courts may apply a robust version of the presumption, effectively ending ATS litigation as we currently know it. Or, they may not. The Court’s citations to Morrison v. Nat’l Austl. Bank Ltd. suggest the former; some language in the various opinions suggests the latter. This article explores these uncertainties and also discusses additional factors that may be …