Balintulo v. Ford Motor Co., No. 14-4104 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, against various corporations for allegedly aiding and abetting crimes committed during apartheid by the South African government against South Africans within South Africa's sovereign territory. The court held that knowledge of or complicity in the perpetration of a crime under the law of nations (customary international law) - absent evidence that a defendant purposefully facilitated the commission of that crime - is insufficient to establish a claim of aiding and abetting liability under the ATS; it is not a violation of the law of nations to bid on, and lose,
a contract that arguably would help a sovereign government perpetrate an asserted violation of the law of nations; allegations of general corporate supervision are insufficient to rebut the presumption against extraterritoriality and establish aiding and abetting liability
under the ATS; and, in this case, plaintiffs’ amended pleadings do not establish federal jurisdiction under the ATS because they do not plausibly allege that defendants themselves engaged in any “relevant conduct” within the United States to overcome the presumption against extraterritorial application of the ATS. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court.