Supreme Court significantly limits reach of Alien Tort Statute

In an important decision for companies that do business in developing nations, the Supreme Court held 17 April 2013 in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) does not authorize plaintiffs to sue in U.S. federal court in cases where all the relevant conduct occurred outside the United States. Although the plaintiffs' bar may try to argue that the Chief Justice's opinion for the Court leaves open several questions, there is no doubt that the number of viable ATS cases has been significantly reduced.

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