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United States Second Circuit

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Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petro. Co., 06-4800

In an action by residents of Nigeria claiming that Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations engaged in oil exploration and production aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing violations of the law of nations, the district court's partial dismissal of the complaint is affirmed and its partial denial of the motion to dismiss is reversed where: 1) in Alien Tort Statute (ATS) suits alleging violations of customary international law, the scope of liability is determined by customary international law itself; and 2) because customary international law consisted of only those norms that were specific, universal, and obligatory in the relations of States inter se, and because no corporation had ever been subjected to any form of liability (whether civil or criminal) under the customary international law of human rights, corporate liability was not a discernible -- much less universally recognized -- norm of customary international law that the court could apply pursuant to the ATS.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 09/17/2010
  • Published 09/17/2010


  • Jose A. Cabranes


  • United States Second Circuit


  • For Appellant:
  • Paul A. Hoffman, Rowan D. Wilson

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