Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

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General Tso
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Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

Postby General Tso » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:21 pm

is the Alien Tort Statute the only way a foreign plaintiff can bring a tort action against an American corporation in federal court? Say for instance, the CEO of Chevron runs over a Saudi child in Saudi Arabia and then either (a) flees to the U.S. or (b) the Saudi courts refuse to give the child's family a fair trial. Could the child's family sue in tort in American courts?

(lame excuse, but I haven't taken Civpro II yet)

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vamedic03
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Re: Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:56 am

General Tso wrote:is the Alien Tort Statute the only way a foreign plaintiff can bring a tort action against an American corporation in federal court? Say for instance, the CEO of Chevron runs over a Saudi child in Saudi Arabia and then either (a) flees to the U.S. or (b) the Saudi courts refuse to give the child's family a fair trial. Could the child's family sue in tort in American courts?

(lame excuse, but I haven't taken Civpro II yet)


Ignoring your hypothetical and focusing on the jurisdiction question only. Short answer no. Slightly longer answer, foreign plaintiff versus US corp = alien versus citizen of a state = diversity jurisdiction under 28 USC 1332. I'm avoiding your hypo because this raises the question of whether or not there is a 12b6 issue of a failure to state a claim. However, a failure to state a claim would result in a dismissal on the merits rather than for want of jurisdiction.*

*- disclaimer, this was written while sleep deprived.

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General Tso
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Re: Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:35 am

what would be the reason for a 12b6 dismissal?

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vamedic03
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Re: Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:03 am

General Tso wrote:what would be the reason for a 12b6 dismissal?


Basically, in your hypo, you actually had two questions, a jurisdictional question and a substantive question.

So, as to the question of whether a federal court would have the power to hear a complaint between an alien and a US corporation - yes, because of diversity jurisdiction.

As to the second question of whether there would be a substantive claim between an alien and a US corporation, then the answer is I don't know. But, if there is not a substantive claim, then likely the US corporation would file a 12b6 motion for failure to state a claim. The court would then dismiss the case on its merits rather than for want of jurisdiction.

My over all point - jurisdictionally, there wouldn't be an issue (the answer to your first question). Substantively, there could be an issue but it is way outside my expertise.

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General Tso
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Re: Jxd Question re: Alien Tort Statute and Foreign Plaintiffs

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:48 pm

ah okay gotcha...thanks a lot for your help




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