Alien Tort Case Development: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against Occidental Petroleum and AirScan

Alien Tort GavelOn November 12, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) against Occidental Petroleum and AirScan. The case, Mujica v. AirScan, involves claims by Colombian plaintiffs alleging that the companies were complicit in a 1998 bombing of a Colombian village by the Colombian Air Force. The Ninth Circuit held that plaintiffs’ claims did not rebut the presumption against extraterritorial application of ATS that has served as a significant obstacle for plaintiffs in ATS cases ever since the More

Alien Tort Case Development: The Second Circuit Assesses the Appropriate Focus of Jurisdictional Inquiries

Alien Tort GavelOn October 23, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Mastafa v. Chevron Corp., a case filed against Chevron Corp. and BNP Paribas pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The court upheld the District Court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ complaint. In upholding the dismissal, the court held that the “focus” of the jurisdictional inquiry in ATS cases must be the specific conduct that allegedly violated the law of nations and where that conduct occurred.

The case involves allegations that Chevron and BNP Paribas aided… More

Modern Slavery Bill in the United Kingdom Expected to Include Public Reporting Requirement

thumbnailEarlier this month, the U.K. Home Office announced that a measure requiring public reporting by British companies would be included in the Modern Slavery Bill that is currently being considered by the House of Commons. The Modern Slavery Bill is expected to be enacted before the next general election in May 2015.

Observers expect that the public reporting requirement will be modeled after the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which requires retailers and manufacturers doing business in the State of California to publicly disclose their efforts, if… More

Alien Tort Case Development: Litigation Against Exxon Mobil Corporation May Proceed

Alien Tort GavelIn late September, the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that two closely related cases filed against Exxon Mobil Corporation, and several of the company’s subsidiaries, could proceed. Plaintiffs in both cases, Doe I v. Exxon Mobil and Doe VIII v. Exxon Mobil, allege that the company is liable for human rights abuses committed by members of the Indonesian military who had been engaged to provide security for the company’s operations in Indonesia.

Plaintiffs in Doe I v. Exxon Mobil have raised claims under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). At an… More

United States to Develop National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

Global BusinessOn September 24, at a meeting of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations, President Obama announced that the U.S. Government would develop a national action plan to promote responsible business conduct. The United States had been under considerable pressure from civil society organizations and others to develop such a plan.

Specifically, and as stated in a fact sheet released by the White House:

The United States will develop a National Action Plan to promote and incentivize responsible business conduct, including with respect to transparency… More

Alien Tort Case Developments: Three Recent Decisions

Alien Tort GavelIn July, we posted about two recent decisions by federal appellate courts that sought to define the parameters of the “touch and concern” standard established by the Supreme Court in its 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.

Since that earlier post, several other federal courts have issued decisions in cases filed against U.S.-based corporations pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). These latest decisions make clear, as one judge noted in her opinion, that Kiobel “drastically limits the viability of ATS claims based on conduct occurring… More

Coming Soon: New Requirements for Federal Contractors Regarding Human Trafficking

TraffickingIn the coming weeks, the U.S. federal government is expected to release amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that are intended to strengthen existing prohibitions against human trafficking by federal contractors.

The draft FAR amendments were first released in September 2013. The final amendments, once released, will impact all federal contracts, with heightened requirements for contracts performed outside the United States that exceed $500,000 in value.

The FAR amendments are being enacted in order to implement Executive Order 13627 (“Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons… More

President Obama Issues New Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Workplace SafetyOn July 31, President Obama issued an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to disclose past labor violations. The order applies to new contracts for goods and services, including construction, valued at more than $500,000.

Contractors subject to the new order must disclose any “administrative merits determination, arbitral award or decision, or civil judgment, as defined in guidance issued by the Department of Labor” arising from the violation of specified federal and state labor laws, including, but not limited to, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act,… More

Protecting the Rights of LGBT Employees in the United States and Abroad

Gay Flag Circle Striped StickerOn July 21, President Obama issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal government contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) employees. The President directed the U.S. Department of Labor to propose implementing regulations within 90 days.

The order amends Executive Order 11246, originally issued by President Johnson, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” The new order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.

President… More

A Conference on Law and Corporate Social Responsibility

International Bar Association Conference on Law and Corporate Social ResponsibilityIt used to be that the links between corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) and the law were not so clear. Practitioners in the field were few and far between and often faced considerable challenges in defining their roles and expertise to both internal and external stakeholders.

It is clear that times are changing. On September 19, many practitioners in the field of CSR and the law will gather in London for a conference hosted by the International Bar Association on “The… More