2014

Doe I vs. Nestle USA, Inc.

Key Issue

Whether corporations may be held liable under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).

Amicus Brief Submission to the 9th Circuit Court of AppealsSubmitted October 27, 2014

Background

Action was brought against Nestle USA, Inc. by former child slaves who were forced to harvest cocoa in the Ivory Coast, alleging the defendants aided and abetted child slavery by providing assistance to Ivorian farmers. These claims were previously dismissed by the District Court.  The 9th Circut Court of Appeals found that corporations can be held liable for ATS claims, however, specific intent to violate the norms of international law must be demonstrated.  Extraterritorial corporate liability was previously addressed in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled that U.S. courts have no jurisdiction against claims arising from human rights violations committed overseas. 

Status

Vacated and remanded to the District Court, allowing the plaintiffs to amend their claim.