THE ALIEN TORT CLAIMS ACT: HUMAN RIGHTS TOOL OR THREAT TO BUSINESS?
The John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University Law School
John Joseph Moakley Archive & Institute
This Guide attempts to provide information on the Alien Tort Claims Act. Included
are books, journal articles, U.S. legislative materials, cases, and Web sites about the Alien Tort Claims Act.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Journals & Articles
U.S. Legislative Materials
- Hufbauer, Gary Clyde, Mitrokostas, Nicholas K. Awakening monster : The Alien Tort Statute of 1789 . Washington, DC : Institute for International Economics, 2003.
- Steinhardt, Ralph G. and D'Amato, Anthony. The Alien Tort Claims Act : An Analytical Anthology. Ardsley, N.Y. : Transnational Publishers, 1999.
- Stephens, Beth and Ratner, Michael. International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts . Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y. : Transnational Publishers, 1996.
JOURNALS & ARTICLES
Citations to articles about the Alien Tort Claims Act can be found by searching on, among others, Westlaw, Lexis, Legaltrac and Wilson's Index to Legal Periodical databases.
- Alien Tort Suits a Concern for Big Business. International Petroleum Finance (June 4, 2003).
- Belgore, Y Forum non conveniens in England and USA for litigation against oil multinationals Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence, Vol. 1, Issue 1, January 2003. http://www.ogel.org. Subscription required.
- Collingsworth, Terry, Work in the 21st Century -- A Look at the Contemporary Labor Movement: Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate over Application of The Alien Tort Claims Act to Violations of Fundamental Human Rights by Corporations. 37 U.S.F.L. Rev. 563, 2003.
- Controversy Rises Over US Tort Law Amid Unocal Myanmar Hearing. International Oil Daily (June 18, 2003).
- Dodge, William S, The Constitutionality of the Alien Tort Statute: Some Observations on Text and Context Winter. 42 Va. J. Int'l L. 687, 2002.
- Ethical Investment; Becoming Model Citizens. Petroleum Economist 28 (March 18, 2003).
- Fletcher, Sam, US companies run governance risks in some countries. Oil & Gas Journal 27 (August 4, 2003). Oil & Gas Journal
- Heil, Jennifer L, African Private Security Companies and the Alien Tort Claims Act: Could Multinational Oil and Mining Companies Be Liable? 22 NW. J. INT'L L. & BUS. 291, 2002.
- Pagnattaro, Marissa Anne, Enforcing International Labor Standards: The Potential of the Alien Tort Claims Act. 37 Vand. J. Transnat'l L. 203, 2004.
- Pettyjohn, Michael Dwayne, Comment: "Bring Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Egregious Torts Yearning To See Green:" The Alien Tort Statute. 10 Tulsa J. Comp. & Int'l L. 513, 2003.
- Paust, Jordan J, Human Rights Responsibilities of Private Corporations, 35 Vand. J. Tansnat'l L 801, 2002.
- Shaw, Coourtney, Uncertain Justice: Liability of Multinationals Under the Alien Tort Claims Act 54 Stan. L. Rev. 1359, 2002.
- Schrage, Elliot J. Judging Corporate Accountability in the Global Economy. 42 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 153, 2003.
- Short, Aric K. Is the Alien Tort Statute Sacrosanct? Retaining Forum Non Conveniens in Human Rights Litigation. 33 N.Y.U. J. INT'L Law & Politics 1001, 2001.
- Stephens, Beth, Individuals Enforcing International Human Rights Law: The Comparative and Historical Context . 52 DePaul Law Review 433, 2002.
- Stephens, Beth,Accountability Without Hypocrisy: Consistent Standards, Honest History, . 36 New Eng. L. Rev. 919, 2002.
- Stephens, Beth,Translating Filártiga: A Comparative and International Law Analysis Of Domestic Remedies For International Human Rights Violations. 27 Yale J. Int'l L. 1, 2002.
- Stephens, Beth,The Amorality of Profit: Transnational Corporations and Human Rights . 20 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 45, 2002.
- Stephens, Beth,Taking Pride in International Human Rights Litigation . 2 Chi. J. Int'l L. 485, 2001.
- Stephens, Beth,Corporate Liability: Enforcing Human Rights Through Domestic Litigation. 24 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 401, 2001.
- Stephens, Beth, Federalism and Foreign Affairs: Congress' Power to "Define and Punish Offenses Against the Law of Nations. 42 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 447, 2000.
- Stephens, Beth, Human Rights Accountability: Congress, Federalism and International Law. 6 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 277, 2000.
- Tyz, Ryan A,Searching for a Corporate Liability Standard Under the Alien Tort Claims Act in Doe v. Unocal. 82 Or. L. Rev. 559, 2003.
U.S. LEGISLATIVE MATERIALS
Some citations to legislative materials on the Alien Tort Claims Act have been provided. Some of these materials are available in the Moakley Law Library or accessible through the Internet.
- Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc. 945 F. Supp. 625 (S.D.N.Y. Nov 12, 1996) Summary: Residents of region of Ecuador brought class action against American oil company for environmental and personal injuries that allegedly resulted from company's exploitation of region's oil fields, and residents of Peru living downstream from that region brought class action asserting similar injuries resulting from these activities. By http://www.earthrights.org
- Aquinda v. Texaco, Inc., 175 F.R.D. 50 (S.D.N.Y. Aug 12, 1997)
- Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., 2000 WL 122143 (S.D.N.Y. Jan 31, 2000)
- Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., 142 F.Supp.2d 534 (S.D.N.Y. May 30, 2001)
- Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., 303 F.3d 470 (2nd Cir.(N.Y.) Aug 16, 2002)
Miscellaneous Articles & Websites about Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc.
Summary: A group of Ecuadoran farmers filed suit against DynCorp charging the company
with illegally spraying a toxic fumigant over the Colombian border into Ecuador, causing serious health effects, crop and property damage, and death.
Notice of Deposition and Subpoena English
Motion to Dismiss
Bano v. Union Carbide Corp. 2000 WL 1225789, S.D.N.Y., Aug 28, 2000 ; 273 F.3d 120, 2nd Cir.(N.Y.), Nov 15, 2001 ; 2003 WL 1344884, S.D.N.Y., Mar 18, 2003 ; 361 F.3d 696, 2nd Cir.(N.Y.), Mar 17, 2004.
Summary: Victims of toxic gas disaster at chemical plant in India, their next-of-kin, and groups representing victims, brought suit against American chemical company and its former chief executive officer (CEO). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants' conduct leading up to the disaster violated various norms of international law, and sought relief under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA).
Summary: In May of 1999, victims of gross human rights abuses associated with Chevron's
oil production activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria filed suit against Chevron in
federal court in San Francisco. The case is based on two incidents: the shooting of peaceful protestors at Chevron's Parabe offshore platform and the destruction of two villages by soldiers in Chevron helicopters and boats. It was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, which permits suits in U.S. courts against individuals or corporations that commit international human rights violations anywhere in the world, if that person or corporation resides in or visits the United States. By http://www.earthrights.org
Synopsis by the Center for Constitutional Rights
Synopsis & Court Documents Available by http://www.earthrights.org
Doe v. ExxonMobil
- Summary: On June 20, 2001, an ATCA claim was filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 01-1357 CIV, on behalf of 11 villagers from Aceh, Indonesia who were victims of human rights abuses by Exxon Mobil's security forces. The general theory of the case is that Exxon Mobil knowingly employed brutal military troops to protect its operations, and the company aided and abetted the human rights violations through financial and other material support to the security forces. In addition, the case alleges that the security forces are either employees or agents of Exxon Mobil, and thus Exxon Mobil is liable for their actions. By http://www.earthrights.org
Human Rights Watch letter to State Department Legal Advisor Taft, June 18, 2002
Flores v. Southern Peru Copper Corp. 203 F.R.D. 92, S.D.N.Y., Apr 19, 2001 ; 2001 WL 1658213, S.D.N.Y., Dec 27, 2001 ; 2002 WL 221608, S.D.N.Y., Feb 13, 2002 ; 253 F.Supp.2d 510, S.D.N.Y., Jul 16, 2002 ; 343 F.3d 140, 2nd Cir., Aug 29, 2003.
Summary: Poor Peru residents brought personal injury claims against American company, alleging that environmental pollution from company's Peru mining operations caused their asthma and lung disease, and asserting federal jurisdiction under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA).
Summary: Plaintiffs are Sinaltrainal, and five individuals who have been murdered, tortured, and/or unlawfully detained. They are seeking to hold Coca-Cola, and two of its Colombian bottlers liable for using paramilitaries to engage in anti-union violence. This case also presents the issue of corporate liability for acts of subsidiaries or agents under the ATCA. By http://www.earthrights.org
Doe v. Unocal Corp 963 F.Supp. 880, C.D.Cal., Mar 25, 1997; 27 F.Supp.2d 1174, C.D.Cal., Nov 18, 1998; 67 F.Supp.2d 1140, C.D.Cal., Aug 05, 1999; 110 F.Supp.2d 1294, C.D.Cal., Aug 31, 2000 ; 248 F.3d 915, 9th Cir.(Cal.), Apr 27, 2001; 2002 WL 31063976, 9th Cir.(Cal.), Sep 18, 2002; 2003 WL 359787, 9th Cir., Feb 14, 2003.
Summary: The first ATCA case brought against a corporate defendant. Burmese villagers brought this action against a California oil company for international human rights violations perpetrated by the Burmese military junta. The plaintiffs' allege that the violations were committed in furtherance and for the benefit of Unocal's pipeline project, in Burma, pursuant
to a joint venture-type relationship between Unocal and the Burmese military dictatorship.
In a precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit most recently held that Unocal could be
held liable for aiding and abetting the Burmese military's human rights violations.
RE: Motion to Dismiss, Order of March 25, 1997. By Project Diana.
2001 Opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Synopsis & Court Documents by http://www.earthrights.org
Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain 519 U.S. 1006, Dec 02, 1996 ; 124 S.Ct. 807, Dec 01, 2003 ; 72 USLW 3486, Jan 26, 2004 ; 72 USLW 3597, Mar 19, 2004.
Brief for the National Association of Manufacturers As Amicus Curiae in Support of Reversal, Jan 23, 2004.
Brief of Amici Curiae National & Foreign Legal Scholars in Support of Respondents.
- http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/briefs/2003/3mer/2mer/2003-0339.mer.aa.html Brief for the U.S. as Respondent Supporting Petitioner, No. 03-339 in US Supreme Court.
ACLU Brief for the Respondent in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, March 2, 2004.
Look under Tuesday, March 30th 2004 on the Washington Posts' US Supreme Court Docket decisions, briefs, laws included.
- http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/03-339.htm Time line Sept. 2003 - March 2004.
- Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. 226 F.3d 88, 2nd Cir.(N.Y.), Sep 14, 2000 ; 532 U.S. 941, Mar 26, 2001 ; 2002 WL 319887, S.D.N.Y., Feb 28, 2002.
- Summary: Nigerian émigrés sued two foreign holding companies, one incorporated in the Netherlands and one incorporated in the United Kingdom, under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and other laws, alleging that companies participated in human rights violations
against them in retaliation for their political opposition to companies' oil exploration activities
in Nigeria. The case revolves around the murder, by hanging, of Nigerian activist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa in November of 1995, the torture and detention of his brother, and the
shooting of a woman peacefully protesting Shell's planned pipeline in Nigeria.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email:
Rick Buckingham, Reference Librarian.
Last modified: June 26, 2006.