Alien Tort Statute—Application to Corporations

Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, No. 16-499

The Alien Tort Statute provides that United States district courts “shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the statute provides for jurisdiction for claims against corporate defendants.  But the Kiobel Court did not reach the issue, deciding instead that the claims failed under the presumption against extraterritorial application of U.S. law. The Supreme Court today granted certiorari to address the question left unanswered by Kiobel: whether the Alien Tort Statute provides jurisdiction for claims against corporate defendants.