Mastafa v. Chevron Corp., No. 10-5258 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, Iraqi women who were the victims of torture by agents of the Saddam Hussein regime or whose husbands were the victims of such torture, filed suit against Chevron and others, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Plaintiffs alleged that they suffered harms cognizable under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789 (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350; the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA), 28 U.S.C. 1350 note.; and New York common law. Plaintiffs claimed that the defendant corporations aided and abetted the abuses of the Saddam Hussein regime by paying the regime kickbacks and other unlawful payments, which enabled the regime to survive and perpetrate the abuses suffered by plaintiffs or their husbands. The court held that the Supreme Court's decision in Mohammad v. Palestinian Authority indisputably forecloses plaintiffs' TVPA claims. The court concluded that it does not have jurisdiction over plaintiffs' ATS claims under the Supreme Court's decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., or the court's holding in Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc. In this case, the complaint failed plausibly to plead that defendants' conduct related to aiding and abetting the alleged violations of customary international law was intentional, and accordingly, the conduct cannot state a claim for aiding and abetting liability under the ATS and cannot form the basis of the court's jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint.