The U.S. Supreme Court today on Jesner v. Arab Bank, (Sup. Ct., April 24, 2018), by a vote of 5-4, held that foreign corporations may not be defendants in suits under the Alien Tort Statute.  In the suit, plaintiffs claimed that terrorist attacks abroad had been facilitated by defendant, Arab Bank.  The portion of Justice Kennedy’s opinion that commanded the vote of 5 justices said in part:The ATS was intended to promote harmony in international relations by ensuring foreign plaintiffs a remedy for international-law violations in circumstances where the absence of such a remedy might provoke foreign nations to hold the United States accountable…. But here, and in similar cases, the opposite is occurring. Petitioners are foreign nationals seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from a major Jordanian financial institution for injuries suffered in attacks by foreign terrorists in the Middle East. The only alleged connections to the United States are the CHIPS transactions in Arab Bank’s New York branch and a brief allegation regarding a charity in Texas.Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch each filed a concurring opinion.  Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan. reports on the decision.



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