Chowdhury v. Worldtel Bangladesh Holding, Ltd., No. 09-4483 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against his former business associates, alleging that they directed a paramilitary unit of the Bangladeshi national police to detain and torture him in order to force him to turn over his ownership interest in a telecommunications company. Defendants were found liable for violations under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA), 106 Stat. 73, note following 28 U.S.C. 1350. The court held that the conduct giving rise to this action occurred within the territory of another sovereign and, therefore, under Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Co., could not form the basis of an action under the ATS; the general verdict rule did not require that the judgment against defendants be vacated with respect to plaintiff's claim under the TVPA because the jury necessarily found Defendant Khan liable under that statute in returning a general verdict in favor of plaintiff; plaintiff's claim under the TVPA was based on actionable torture, and permissibly predicated on agency theories of liability; and the district court did not err in allowing plaintiff to testify regarding certain statements made to him by foreign police agents, who were agents or coconspirators. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part, remanding for further proceedings.