Chevron Wins ATS Case. Will Corporations Fight, Not Settle?

by Peter Spiro

Chevron wins a big Alien Tort Statute verdict in a case involving its alleged complicity in killings by Nigerian security forces. This is no doubt an important case (though probably not as important at Andrew McCarthy thinks it is — see “Sovereignty, Vindicated” over at NRO).  On the heels of a lower-profile case last year involving Drummond that also resulted in a jury finding of no liability, it’s only the second ATS claim against a corporation to go to trial.  The verdict doesn’t affect the law, but you’d have to think that it will embolden other corporations to fight ATS claims rather than settle them.

One might also wonder if the changed economic climate will subtly affect the landscape. Juries may be a lot less inclined to sock US companies with big judgments (at least not to the benefit of foreigners) when everyone knows how close they all are to the brink. Is the golden age of the ATS starting to dim?

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