>   SEARCH    
 > BROWSE Articles by :   - subject
 > GALS Home  - author
 > GALS Books  - journal
 > Working Papers   
   > SHOW ALL Articles sorted by

  Alien Torts Claims Act
 
Baldwin, Jeffrey E., "International Human Rights Plaintiffs and the Doctrine of Forum non Conveniens", Cornell International Law Journal v. 40 (2007) p. 749-791

Abstract:
This article argues for a limited application of the traditional doctrine of forum non conveniens in cases involving the Alien Tort Claims Act (ACTA), a law dating from 1789 that grants U.S. federal courts subject matter jurisdiction over certain civil actions filed by aliens against U.S. or foreign defendants. The doctrine of forum non conveniens permits federal courts to dismiss a case that otherwise satisfies jurisdiction and venue requirements if an adequate alternative forum exists and the balance of private and public interest factors tilts strongly toward adjudication in an alternative forum. In ATCA claims, the private and public interest factors often weigh against U.S. federal courts retaining jurisdiction due to the significant foreign element inherently present in such cases. Thus, while ACTA was intended to open U.S. courts to suits by alien plaintiffs who have suffered human rights or labor rights violations abroad, forum non conveniens doctrine typically operates to bar access to U.S. courts precisely because the plaintiffs are aliens and the alleged human rights violations have occurred overseas. The article generally endorses the approach adopted by the Second Circuit in Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which the plaintiffs alleged that the Nigerian government had imprisoned, tortured and killed their family members at the instigation of the defendant oil company and its subsidiary. In reversing the district court’s dismissal of the case, the Appeals Court urged federal courts to give significant weight to the United States' strong public interest in adjudicating international human rights violations. Citing language from the Wiwa decision, the article argues that if federal courts fail to adopt this approach, they run the risk of "facilely dismissing" international human rights claims on the mistaken "assumption that the ostensibly foreign controversy is not our business."

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Company-Specific, Conflict of Laws, Corporate Accountability, Labor Rights as Human Rights
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 1
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Bergman, Jessica, "The Alien Tort Statute and Flomo v. Firestone Natural Rubber Company: The Key to Change in Global Child Labor Practices?", Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies v. 18 no1 (Winter 2011) p. 455-479

Abstract:
In this article, the author considers the obstacles and arguments that have prevented uniform and enforceable international law on child labor. She discusses the Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain case, in which, the US Supreme Court severely limited the application of the USA's Alien Tort Statute (ATS). There the Court said a cause of action must be as rooted in a clear international norm such as one which would give rise to personal liability when the ATS was enacted in 1789. Despite the Sosa case, the author argues that domestic legislation like the ATS provide a mechanism to punish American exploiters of child workers abroad. The article gives, an example, a recent case in the U.S. Federal District Court, Flomo v. Firestone Natural Rubber Company, which found that allegations of forced and hazardous child labor at a Liberian rubber plant rose to the level of customary law and thus provided jurisdiction sufficient to invoke ATS. While the Flomo court ultimately ruled for the defendants, the author contends that the case affirms the possibility that plaintiffs can use ATS legislation to ensure corporate compliance with child labor norms around the world.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Child Labor, Extraterritorial Application of Law, Forced Labor, Labor Rights as Human Rights
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 6
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Bridgeford, Tawny Aine, "Imputing Human Rights Obligations on Multinational Corporations: The Ninth Circuit Strikes Again in Judicial Activism", American University International Law Review v. 18 no4 (2003) p. 1009-1057

Abstract:
This Note examines the Ninth Circuit's extension of Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) liability to a multinational corporation, Unocal, charged with third-party liability for torts committed by a foreign government in the foreign land. Unocal was charged with complicity in human rights violations including forced labor, rape, and murder committed by the Myanmar military regime while the regime provided security for a Unocal construction project. Part I explains the background and procedural history of the case and discusses how the ATCA applies international law to multinational corporations. Part II argues that the court improperly expanded the definition of slavery to include plaintiffs' claims of forced labor and thus improperly subjected Unocal to individual liability for human rights violation committed solely by the Myanmar military regime. Part II also discusses the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the legal impediments to holding foreign governments and their military regimes liable for the human rights abuses they perpetrate. Part III calls upon the United States Supreme Court to provide a bright line rule on ATCA liability of multinational corporations operating abroad to prevent future lower court decisions that transgress the bounds of both domestic and international law. The author concludes by recommending that the international community adopt the United Nations' Human Rights Principles and Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Company-Specific, Case Studies: Country-Specific
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 12
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Clapman, Andrew & Jerbi, Scott, "Categories of Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses", Hastings International and Comparative Law Review v. 24 no3 (Spring 2001) p. 339-349

Abstract:
This article explores corporate complicity in human rights abuses by asking, what responsibility does a multinational company have for monitoring the policies of a host government? The authors explore whether the corporation must refrain from participating, or must it also take affirmative measures to prevent crimes such as forced labor. Reasoning from various judgments by international and domestic tribunals, the authors conclude that while international law clearly prohibits multinational corporations from intentionally participating in an international crime, it is uncertain whether corporations may also be held liable for silent complicity in human rights abuses.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 1
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Collingsworth, Terry, "Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate Over Application of the Alien Tort Claims Act to Violations of Fundamental Human Rights by Corporations", University of San Francisco Law Review v. 37 no536 (Spring 2003) p. 563-586

Abstract:
In this article, the author discusses the negative reaction of the international business community to the use of the Alien Tort Claims Act to hold liable corporations that have knowingly participated in human rights violations. In Part I the author argues that the business community is incorrect in its attack on the ATCA; that contrary to their claims, the ATCA clearly allows claims for violations of the law of nationals to be brought by aliens in federal court. The author also criticizes the Bush Administration for violating separation of powers by seeking to prevent the enforcement of the ATCA against offending corporations. Part II examines and rebuts the major arguments made by the business community as it seeks to undo the accumulated precedent of the ATCA. Part III summarizes several cases brought by the International Labor Rights Fund cases against corporations that knowingly participating in clear, well-accepted violations of the law of nations. In conclusion, the author argues that ACTA will provide redress for egregious conduct by corporations, and urges that the U.S. government refrain from subverting the judicial process in an attempt to prevent meritorious cases from going forward.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 3, Issue 2
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Cummins, Justin, "Invigorating Labor: A Human Rights Approach in the United States", Emory International Law Review v. 19 no1 (2005) p. 1-68

Abstract:
The article argues that international human rights law should be used to prosecute labor violations in the United States. Part II discusses the context and rationales for this approach, including (1) the ambivalence of globalization, which encourages both a race to the bottom for worker protections but has seen the helped to spur the development of new human rights conventions; (2) Supreme Court rulings affirming international human rights doctrines; and (3) the failure of the National Labor Relations Act to protect US workers. Part III discusses judicial treatment of this strategy under the Alien Tort Claims Act and other statutes. Part IV details looming technical objections, including lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Garmon preemption and preclusion for want of state action. Part V recommends an approach to venue, party, jurisdiction, substantive claims and alliances that might provide a successful test case. Part VI concludes that this strategy should fortify the emerging alliance of labor, civil rights and human rights proponents and overcome the isolation and marginalization of workers.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Corporate Accountability, Extraterritorial Application of Law, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 8
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Ellinikos, Maria, "American MNCs Continue to Profit from the Use of Forced and Slave Labor. Begging the Question: Should America take a Cue from Germany?", Cornell International Law Journal v. 35 no1 (Fall 2001) p. 1-33

Abstract:
This note discusses the dismal record of judicial enforcement of international labor rights violations committed by American multinational corporations (MNCs). Part I discusses the current status of American litigation of international labor rights violations under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) in light of the recent line of cases involving the Unocal Corporation and the pending Saipan labor suits involving U.S.-based retailers. Part II considers the German initiative to compensate victims of Nazi labor rights violations through the Foundation established by the German government, German industry, and several foreign nations. Part III concludes that ATCA is not the best means to combat international labor rights violations committed by American MNCs. The author concludes instead that the U.S. government and American MNCs should develop an initiative similar to the German model. Under such an initiative, American MNCs would accept moral and legal responsibility for their actions and take proactive steps to eliminate the use of forced and slave labor globally.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Forced Labor
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 1
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Fielding, Jonathan , "Enforcing International Labor Standards Through the Use of the Alien Tort Claims Act and Traditional Corporate Law", New York International Law Review v. 17 (Winter 2004) p. 77-101

Abstract:
This article explores ways in which international human rights activists can utilize the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), customary international law, and traditional corporate law in order to hold U.S. companies accountable to international labor standards. First, the article describes the development of ATCA litigation involving the enforcement of human rights. It also notes that judges have been unwilling to imply or create causes of action under the Act, thus limiting ATCA’s usefulness in regulating U.S. corporations’ actions abroad. Second, the article argues that a new paradigm for international law has developed since WWII, one that may now permit regulation between non-state entities and individuals. And finally, the article examines the doctrine of ultra vires in corporate law and its potential use as a tool for international labor activists. The author contends that the ultra vires doctrine allows a plaintiff to bring an equitable action directly against a corporation and, more importantly, permits third parties who are injured by ultra vires actions to sue corporations for in tort . This would allow non-stockholder aliens injured by violating U.S. corporations to state a cause of action under ATCA. The article concludes that traditional litigation under ATCA can be bolstered with use of the ultra vires doctrine, and strengthen labor rights activism internationally.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 3, Issue 10
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Finley, Maxmillian, "The Bitter with the Sweet: The Impact of the World Trade Organization's Settlement of the Banana Trade Dispute of the Human Rights of Ecuadorian Banana Workers", New York Law School Law Review no48 (2004) p. 815-860

Abstract:
In this article, the author examines how the World Trade Organization's Settlement of the banana trade war affected Ecuadorian banana workers. The author argues that the resolution will not benefit the workers because the Ecuadorian government and multi-national corporations profit from denying workers their basic human rights to organize and form unions. Finley notes that although the Ecuadorian Constitution and Labor Code give employees the right to organize, the laws do not require workers to be reinstated who have been fired for organizing activities. Additionally, the growing use of permanent, temporary, and subcontracted labor means that many banana workers are not recognized as "employees" under the law and hence receive no protection. Finley contends that multinational corporations contribute to the problem by using guaranteed supply contracts with banana producers in lieu of directly owning plantations. As a result, multinational corporations avoid liability for labor violations by shifting the responsibility to the local producers with whom they contract. The author observes that the Ecuadorian workers might be able to bring lawsuits against the U.S. multinational corporations in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act. However, because most Ecuadorian workers do not have the time and resources to pursue litigation, Finley contends that the U.S. legislature should suspend aid and benefits to Ecuador to send a strong message of disapproval. Finally, Finley proposes actions that Ecuador and multinational corporations can take to provide the Ecuadorian workforce with the right to organize.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Country-Specific, Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Contingent Work, World Trade Organization (WTO)
Newsletter: Vol 4, Issue 9
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Forcese, Craig, "ATCA's Achilles Heel: Corporate Complicity, International Law and the Alien Tort Claims Act", Yale Journal of International Law v. 26 no2 (Summer 2001) p. 487-515

Abstract:
This article discusses the prospects for using the Alien Torts Claims Act (ATCA) to make corporations acountable for complicity with human rights abuses perpetrated by foreign regimes. It focuses on three case studies -- Royal Dutch Shell Case in Nigeria, Freeport McMoRan Case in Indonesia, and Oil and Gas Companies Case in Burma. The case studies demonstrate how corporations rely on state militaries to implement their labor policies, and that such military authorities perpetuate human rights violations. By analyzing the actions undertaken by multinational corporations, acting either under the auspices of these states or as private individuals, the article argues that such complicity violates international law. The author concludes that the ATCA could be used as an effective means for calling to account corporations indulging in “militarized commerce."

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 3
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Garcia, Ruben J., "Labor's Fragile Freedom of Association Post-9/11", University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law v. 8 (Winter 2006) p. 283-366

Abstract:
In the name of national security, federal legislation, Executive Orders and administrative agency decisions have greatly limited the rights of U.S. workers to organize and bargain collectively since September 11, 2001. Some workers, such as airport security employees, have completely lost the right to bargain collectively as a result of heightened security concerns. The author of this article argues that because domestic law has proven inadequate, labor should look increasingly to international law, which recognizes the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively as fundamental human rights. He points out that international law principles are increasingly accepted in U.S. courts in a variety of contexts, including the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and constitutional cases that rely on a consensus of nations. Although these instruments may not be self-executing or include private rights of action, he argues that domestic courts can nonetheless look to these principles in deciding whether national security requires the exclusion of certain workers from collective bargaining. The author further notes that international labor law principles are already part of the fabric of U.S. law through ratified treaties and incorporation of the "Law of Nations" into federal statutes such as the Alien Tort Claims Act, so that courts and administrative agencies charged with enforcing domestic labor law should look to international principles for guidance when domestic labor law and national security concerns collide.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Country-Specific, Freedom of Association, Labor Rights as Human Rights, Right to Strike
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 12
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Gould, William B. IV, "Fundamental Rights at Work and the Law of Nations: An American Lawyer's Perspective", Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal v. 23 (Fall 2005) p. 1-44

Abstract:
This essay discusses US labor law and its compatibility with the conventions of the ILO, asking in what ways domestic law should be shaped in order to comport with international law in labor-management relations. Gould, former NLRB chair, narrates a detailed history of labor rights in the US from 1935, noting the recent Supreme Court practice of referencing foreign and international law, and a legislative backlash from Congress. A cardinal Supreme Court decision is Sosa v Alvarez-Machain, which authorized federal courts to examine instruments under the 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act when considering the lawfulness of extraterritorial conduct. Gould concludes with a detailed explanation of the legal progeny of the Sosa decision (Drummond, Del Monte and Unocal), analyzing the implications of each decision. He predicts that in future decisions with international implications the Supreme Court will be cautious, "but Sosa has opened up a new frontier for rights and dignity of labor abroad," and perhaps in the US as well.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Country-Specific, Extraterritorial Application of Law, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 12
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Haberstroh, John, "In re World War II Era Japanese Forced Labor Litigation and Obstacles to International Human Rights Claims in U.S. Courts", Asian Law Journal v. 10 no253 (May 2003) p. 253-294

Abstract:
This article discusses In re World War II Era Japanese Forced Labor Litigation (“Forced Labor”), a case in which Chinese and Korean victims of Japan’s forced labor camps unsuccessfully pursued civil claims against Japanese corporations in the U.S. The claims were brought under California Code of Civil Procedure (CalCCP) section 354.6 – a provision created specifically for such claims -- and the Alien Tort Claims Act. Part I outlines the historical background of the case, the laborers’ efforts to seek redress in Japan, and the creation of a cause of action in California. Part II examines the two grounds on which the Forced Labor claims were rejected – the unconstitutional intrusion of CalCCP 354.6 into the federal government’s exclusive foreign affairs power, and the expiration of the statute of limitation on the ATCA claims. Part III discusses additional obstacles to ATCA claims that did not arise in the Forced Labor litigation but that could be pertinent to future international human rights claims in U.S. courts under ATCA. The author concludes by noting that although laborers are most passionate about receiving an apology, not monetary damages, to the extent that forced apologies deter future misconduct less effectively than restitution and retribution, ATCA claims may still be the most effective avenue of redress.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Forced Labor, Japan
Newsletter: Vol 3, Issue 4
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Pagnattaro, Marisa Anne, "Enforcing International Labor Standards: The Potential of the Alien Tort Claims Act", Vanderbilt Journal of Transanational Law v. 37 no203 (2004) p. 203-263

Abstract:
This article asks where workers can go for protection of labor standards. In Part I, the author argues that US courts should recognize that the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) includes torts committed in connection with freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, prohibitions on child labor, and discrimination. Thus, ATCA can be used to enforce core labor rights under the law of nations. Part II sketches ATCA's history and narrates seven major cases, including four brought against multinational corporations by the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF). Part III shows that foreign workers can hold multinationals liable under ATCA for violating the law of nations. Part IV lists treaties that can be used to constitute law of nations violations in the areas of human and labor rights, extra judicial murder and genocide, torture, kidnapping, slavery, freedom of association, collective bargaining, child labor and discrimination. Part V outlines four challenges to ATCA claims and Part VI gives their counter-defenses. In Part VII, the author argues that free trade will not automatically improve labor rights. While it is admirable that courts have interpreted the law of nations to include general human rights, now they should recognize its torts connected to core labor rights.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 7
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Prociv, Justin, "Incorporating Specific International Standards Into ATCA Jurisprudence: Why the Ninth Circuit Should Affirm Unocal", University of Miami Inter-American Law Review v. 34 no515 (2003) p. 515-548

Abstract:
This Comment focuses on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ACTA)s and argues that U.S. courts should incorporate specific international standards into ATCA jurisprudence. Part II presents a brief overview of the ATCA as interpreted as of 2003, and discusses John Doe I v. Unocal Corporation, in which a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that liability under the ATCA may be appropriately determined according to specific international substantive tests. Part III acknowledges and discusses problems and inconsistencies with the ATCA and identifies sources of international law appropriate for incorporation. Part IV lays out arguments from both parties' petitions for rehearing of the case, while Part V analyzes why such standards ought to be incorporated into ATCA jurisprudence. In Part VI, the author argues that courts, when applying the ATCA, should move away from the ambiguous and often empty standards of domestic jurisprudence and into a realm of meaningful internationally accepted legal standards.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 3, Issue 6
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Ramasastry, Anita, "Corporate Complicity From Nuremberg to Rangoon: An Examination of Forced Labor Cases and Their Impact on the Liability of Multinational Corporations", Berkeley Journal of International Law v. 20 no1 (2002) p. 91-151

Abstract:
The article looks at nature and degree of complicity that gives rise to liability on the part of multinational corporations (MNCs) that operate in countries with repressive regimes. Specifically, it examines lawsuits in United States against these MNCs for violations of public international law under the federal Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA). It also views the historical origins of corporate complicity, and examines the outcomes of British and American war crimes tribunal set up after the Second World War. Further, the article compares and contrasts these historical cases with the recent case brought in the federal district court against Unocal Corporation for alleged use of force labor in its pipeline project in Burma. The article provides a critique of the most recent court decision on Unocal on the grounds that the decision did not distinguish between the wartime and non-wartime violations. The author argues that the cases involving corporate complicity during wartime are not directly analogous to cases related to MNC investment activities in modern conflict zones or in countries that continue to repress the rights of their people.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Forced Labor
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 1
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Ramsey, Michael D, "Multinational Corporate Liability Under the Alien Tort Claims Act: Some Structural Concerns", Hastings International and Comparative Law Review v. 24 no3 (Spring 2001) p. 361-380

Abstract:
The author argues courts should be hesitant in adopting an expansive view of multinational corporate liability under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). While not suggesting the outright abandonment of ATCA claims, the article raises several problems concerning ATCA corporate cases: 1) in order to accommodate ATCA corporate liability cases, courts must severely stretch the language of the statute, grounds for federal jurisdiction, state action requirements, and the bounds of liability under international law; 2) corporate ATCA litigation is likely to involve courts in substantial questions of foreign policy on the basis of very thin statutory authorization; 3) ATCA litigation appears to be in conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sabbatino, which held that separation of powers militate against court involvement in foreign affairs; 4) application of ATCA remains inconsistent with the near-unanimous academic rejection of the Helms-Burton litigation, which appears to seek a remedy for property crimes similar to that which the expanded ATCA seeks for human rights abuses; and 5) expansive ATCA claims risk devolving foreign policymaking authority onto a multiplicity of local district and appellate judges.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 1
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Recent Cases, "Civil Procedure Choice of Law Ninth Circuit Uses International Law to Decide Applicable Substantive Law Under Alien Tort Claims Act", Harvard Law Review v. 116 no5 (March 2003) p. 1525-1532

Abstract:
This Comment examines the Ninth Circuit's extension of Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) liability to a multinational corporation in the Unocal case. Unocal was charged with complicity in human rights violations including forced labor, rape, and murder committed by the Myanmar military regime while the regime provided security for a Unocal construction project. After summarizing the procedural and factual posture of the case, this Comment analyses and critiques the majority and concurring opinions. The Comment argues that the court's decision to apply norms of international law in this context both threatens the ability of federal district courts to administer Alien Tort Claims Act litigation and distorts the role of those courts by forcing federal judges to act as surrogate tribunals for international claims. The Comment concludes by suggesting that the Ninth Circuit should have applied federal common law rather than international criminal law to this decision, thereby preventing federal courts from having to make complicated and cumbersome determinations of international law when faced with ATCA litigation.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Case Studies: Company-Specific, Case Studies: Country-Specific
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 12
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Ridenour, Andrew, "Doe v. Unocal Corp. (110 F. Supp. 2d 1294 (C.D. Cal. 2000)), Apples and Oranges: Why Courts Should Use International Standards to Determine Liability for Violation of the Law of Nations under the Alien Tort Claims Act", Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law v. 9 (Spring 2001) p. 581-603

Abstract:
The author examines the recent Doe. V. Unocal summary judgment ruling by the Central District Court of California in favor of the defendant Unocal. After reviewing the factual background of the case, the article looks at the legislative history of ATCA as well as the legal standards applied by various federal courts. In light of this history, the author concludes that the Unocal court’s analysis failed to properly apply international standards to determine liability for violations of the Law of Nations under ATCA. Specifically, the court’s use of domestic legal standards, such as those of 42 U.S.C. 1983 civil rights jurisprudence, remains an inadequate surrogate for international legal standards in ATCA cases. Additionally, the use of domestic standards runs counter to the reasoning behind the majority of ATCA jurisprudence and legislative intent as expressed by the adoption of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. If the court had correctly applied international standards as set out by previous ATCA cases and international law, the outcome of the case could have been markedly different.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 2
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Short, Eric K., "Is the Alien Tort Statute Sacrosanct? Retaining Forum Non Conveniens in Human Rights Litigation", New York University Journal of International Law and Politics v. 33 no4 (Summer 2001) p. 1001-1100

Abstract:
This article explores whether the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) confers jurisdiction on U.S. courts that is immune from traditional forum non conveniens analysis. Part II of this article reviews the purpose, history, and development of the ATCA and the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Part III analyzes and evaluates the primary arguments raised by those seeking abolition or significant curtailment of the doctrine in ATCA cases: (1) the statute's express language and legislative intent make forum non conveniens inapplicable; (2) weighing forum non conveniens considerations would nullify the ATCA; and (3) U.S. interests support elimination of forum non conveniens in human rights suits. The author argues that no reasonable basis exists to justify federal courts refusing to consider forum non conveniens arguments in cases brought under the ATCA. Rather, he argues that the purpose and design of forum non conveniens make it sufficiently flexible to be invoked in even the most compelling human rights cases brought in the United States. If applied properly, the doctrine will enable courts to identify ATCA cases that cannot and should not be dismissed to foreign jurisdictions. At the same time, the author contends that the forum non conveniens doctrine can determine when alleged violations of the law of nations would be addressed more appropriately by the courts of other countries. By identifying such exceptional cases meriting dismissal, the doctrine will help advance a global development of customary international law norms in the area of human rights and will help ensure that U.S. courts do not antagonize international relations unnecessarily. Part IV proposes a slight modification to the forum non conveniens analysis in human rights lawsuits to account for the frequent existence of significant sovereign interests in those cases. It then analyzes forum non conveniens arguments in a recent suit brought under the ATCA by Holocaust survivors and the heirs of Holocaust victims against three Swiss banks to highlight the continued importance of the doctrine and the critical role that sovereign interests play in such an analysis.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, Extraterritorial Application of Law
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 7
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || 
 
Wishnie, Michael J., "Immigrant Workers and the Domestic Enforcement of International Labor Rights", University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law v. 4 no3 (Spring 2002) p. 529-557

Abstract:
The article deals with the propects for using international labor law strategies to assist immigrant domestic workers and migrant farm workers in the United States. The author focuses on the potential of the Alien Torts Claims Act (ATCA) and the North American Agreement for Labor Cooperation (NAALC) to further specific goals of organizing campaigns in the immigrant communities, and also to force domestic public and private institutions to honor international obligations. In light of the growth of organizing initiatives in immigrant communities and workplaces in the last decade, the authors argue that ATCA could be an important tool for immigrant groups. In addition, petitions pending under the NAALC have challenged an information sharing agreement between the US Department of Labor and the US Immigration and Naturalization Service and delays by New York Workers' Compensation Board. The author concludes that the ATCA and NAALC have great potential to further immigrant workers rights and enforce international labor standards.

Subjects: Alien Torts Claims Act, NAFTA/GATT
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 4
Full-text links: || WESTLAW ||