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Mastafa v. Chevron Corp.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

October 23, 2014

SAADYA MASTAFA, KAFIA ISMAIL, BATUL NUR, AFAF RASOOL, ZAHRA RASOOL, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CHEVRON CORPORATION, BANQUE NATIONALE DE PARIS PARIBAS, Defendants-Appellees,

Submitted: May 28, 2014.

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. No. 10-cv-5646--Jed S. Rakoff, Judge.

The question presented is whether the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Jed. S. Rakoff, Judge) properly dismissed the complaint of five Iraqi nationals who claim that they or their family members were tortured, imprisoned, and in some cases executed by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Plaintiffs filed suit in July 2010 against defendants Chevron Corp. and Banque Nationale de Paris Paribas (jointly, " defendants" ), alleging that defendants illicitly diverted money to the Saddam Hussein regime--then subject to economic sanctions--in violation of customary international law. Plaintiffs contend on appeal that such harms are cognizable under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789 (" ATS" ), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, which establishes district court jurisdiction " of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States," as well as the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (" TVPA" ), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 note, and New York common law.

The parties agree, and we hold, that the Supreme Court's decision in Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, 132 S.Ct. 1702, 182 L.Ed.2d 720 (2012), indisputably forecloses plaintiffs' claims brought under the TVPA. We also conclude, in a question of first impression for this Court, that we do not have jurisdiction over plaintiffs' ATS claims pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659, 185 L.Ed.2d 671 (2013), and our holding in Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc., 582 F.3d 244 (2d Cir. 2009). Accordingly, we AFFIRM the judgment of the District Court.

John T. Murray, Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A., Sandusky, Ohio, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Meir Feder, Thomas E. Lynch, Jones Day, New York, NY; Gregory G. Katsas, Michael A. Carvin, Jones Day, Washington, D.C., for Defendant-Appellee Chevron Corp.

Robert S. Bennett, Ellen Kennedy, Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, Washington, D.C.; Jennifer L. Spaziano, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Washington, D.C., for Defendant-Appellee Banque Nationale de Paris Paribas.

Terrence Patrick Collingsworth, Conrad & Scherer, LLP, Washington, D.C., for amicus curiae Human Rights Watch and Labor Organizations.

Before: CABRANES, STRAUB, and LIVINGSTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 174

José A. Cabranes, Circuit Judge ...


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