International Human Rights Litigation / Pro Bono Activities

The firm devotes substantial time to pro bono activities. Recently, these activities have focused on civil litigation under the Alien Tort Statute and other laws seeking redress for human rights violations.

The firm spent a great deal of time investigating allegations of bribery, torture, assassination and other human rights violations in Equatorial Guinea in preparation for the filing of a civil case in Los Angeles. However, the U.S. Attorney’s office has filed that case as a criminal money laundering/forfeiture case that is now pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

The firm has also been heavily involved in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The United States granted certiorari in October 2011 on the issue of whether corporations can be sued for human rights violations under the Alien tort Statute. After that issue was briefed and argued on February 28, 2012, the Court ordered further briefing on the issue of the extra-territorial application of the Alien Tort Statute.

If the Court rules that corporations are not immune from ATS liability and that it can be applied to acts occurring in foreign countries, then the firm expects to be involved in the further litigation of Doe v. Nestle which is presently stayed in the Ninth Circuit awaiting the result of Kiobel as well as pending cases against Rio Tinto and Chiquita for egregious human rights violations.

The firm intends to file future international human rights cases as may present themselves under the following statutes: Torture Victims Prevention Act, Anti Terror and Effective Death Penalty Act, RICO, and the Alien Tort Statute. The Firm also intends to continue its appellate advocacy in favor of human rights including work in the US Supreme Court.