Sunday, October 14, 2007

ATCA Apartheid Case Reinstated

The 2nd Circuit just remanded for trial 3 class actions against 50 major companies operating in South Africa. The case (Khulumani v. Barclays) had been dismissed by the district court following the Supreme Court’s decision in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain in 2004. In that decision (as I wrote here), the Court stated that judges must take into account the “collateral consequences” of their decision to create remedies under the Alien Tort Claims Act. Its example was the apartheid actions in question, because the South African government had complained to the State Department that the cases interfered with national reconciliation through non-litigious procedures such as truth and reconciliation commissions. In ruling that the district court does indeed have jurisdiction to hear these cases, the 2nd Circuit allows
all persons who lived in South Africa between 1948 and the present and who suffered damages as a result of apartheid to go forward against American, Canadian and European corporations that sold goods and materials or made loans to the Union of South Africa during the apartheid era.

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