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Justices hear case over suits for overseas abuses

Supreme Court weighs right to sue companies over aiding rights abuses in foreign countries By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Supreme Court's conservative justices are voicing skepticism about allowing corporations to be sued in American courts over claims that they were complicit in human rights abuses in foreign countries.

The court is weighing whether a 223-year-old law gives foreign victims of abuses the right to use U.S. courts to try to prove that companies played a role in atrocities and should pay damages.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote often decides closely contested cases, appeared ready to join his four fellow Republican appointees in ruling out lawsuits against corporations under the Alien Tort Statute.



The issue is at the heart of a lawsuit by 12 Nigerians who want to hold oil giant Royal Dutch Shell liable for aiding a deadly crackdown on protests in the Niger Delta in the 1990s.


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