Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Alien Tort Statute Case

Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments (full transcript of arguments) in Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC.  At issue in the case is whether corporations may ever be held liable under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows aliens to sue in U.S. courts for a tort committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. Circuit Courts are split on the issue.  The underlying claims in this lawsuit are described in the petition for certiorari:
Petitioners are victims of terrorist attacks ... that took place between 1995 and 2005 in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In five separate lawsuits ... they alleged that Arab Bank knowingly and intentionally financed this terrorism through activities in New York that led to the suicide bombings and other attacks that caused petitioners’ injuries.... Petitioners also allege that the Bank, through the involvement of its New York branch, knowingly distributed millions of dollars to terrorists and their families on behalf of terrorist front groups.
USA Today reports on today's oral arguments.