Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (U.S. Supreme Court)
The question presented in this case was whether suits against corporations, as opposed to natural persons, for alleged violations of international law are cognizable under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The Second Circuit held that they are not. On behalf of the Clearing House Association LLC, we filed an amicus brief in support of respondents advancing alternative grounds for affirmance. We argued that aiding-and-abetting claims are not cognizable under the ATS and that even if they were in principle cognizable, the plaintiff would have to prove both that the defendant intended to further the alleged primary violation of international law and that the defendant’s actions substantially assisted the primary actor’s violation. Following oral argument, the Court set the case for re-argument and ultimately held that a presumption against the extraterritorial application of U.S. law applies to claims under the ATS.