03 Jun Plaintiff Lawyers Discover IL
That’s at the center of this interesting piece from Adam Liptak in today’s NY Times, on an Alien Tort Statute claim alleging the enslavement of child jockeys in the camel-racing business. The case was brought by the class-action firm Motley Rice against two camel owners who also happen to be high-ranking officials of the United Arab Emirates. (Isn’t there a sovereign immunity issue lurking in here somewhere?) Here’s a site put up by the defendants with the filings in the case. The complaint makes for some fairly chilling reading.
Should we be disturbed that plaintiff lawyers are getting into this action, with a clear eye to a payday at the end of the case? As Bill Dodge observes in the story, these firms won’t pick their battles carefully, which might well result in caselaw unfavorable to the internatinalist agenda.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s just a another sign of the internalization of IL into US legal practice. Other areas of law have to endure trial lawyers, so why shouldn’t we? I also suspect that in the early days of this sort of practice, there’s a good deal of low-hanging fruit, cases in which there are some real wrongs to be righted. If the class-action people manage to make things better for the child camel-jockeys (as they appear to have done already, in response to the making of the claim), does it make any difference that their motives may be unpure? We’re probably a long way off from international law claims being lodged against Netflix for false advertising and other cases in which the only party-in-interest is the lawyers themselves. In the meantime, the more IL weaves itself into the fabric of our legal system, the better.