Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe

141 S. Ct. 1931 (2021)

Firm: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

Issue Area: International Human Rights

Case summary

Arnold & Porter represented the Chamber of Commerce in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to protect international corporations from liability for human rights abuses. The lawsuit alleged that Nestlé's supply chain relied on child slavery and kidnapping. Plaintiffs, formerly enslaved children, alleged that Nestlé's attempts to find the least expensive labor on the Ivory Coast resulted in a system built on child slavery. 

The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs needed to allege that Nestlé engaged in more than general corporate activity in the United States. The ruling makes it more difficult for victims of human rights abuses to seek justice from international corporations.


Excerpt from the firm's work product

Arnold & Porter argued that the U.S. Courts should not hold Nestle liable, even though it does business in the U.S.: "the extraterritorial application of the [Alien Tort Statute] disrupts the ability and responsibility of other sovereigns to redress wrongful acts committed on their own territory. For instance, El Salvador, South Africa, and Colombia have all objected to ATS suits as an infringement of their rights to resolve disputes arising within their borders. See also Br. of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom at 6, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 569 U.S. 108 (2013) (No. 10-1491), 2012 WL 2312825 (extraterritorial ATS jurisdiction “interfere[s] with and complicate[s] efforts within the territorial State to remedy human rights abuses that may have occurred within its own territory”).

"The allegedly wrongful conduct in this case took place in Côte d’Ivoire, which has the prerogative and responsibility to redress wrongdoing that occurs in its territory." 

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