Transnational

Over the past 15 years, there has been a sharp rise in lawsuits brought against American companies, as well as foreign companies with a substantial U.S. presence, that are premised on alleged personal or environmental injuries occurring abroad. These cases raise the question of whether U.S. courts should be the venue for cases concerning conduct occurring outside the territory of the United States. They have also been characterized by controversial and abusive tactics by plaintiffs and their lawyers.

Many of those transnational lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. by plaintiffs’ class action firms, public interest attorneys and non-governmental organizations.  Some have been filed in federal courts under the 200-year old Alien Tort Statute (ATS), while many more have been brought in state courts under common law theories of liability. 

These cases raise several concerns. One is the use of U.S. courts for adjudicating disputes that occurred outside of the country. It is a generally established principle that U.S. courts should not hear cases involving foreign conduct unless there is a significant nexus to the United States. By undermining this principle, these cases set a precedent that could be used to expose Americans to litigation in foreign courts over conduct occurring in the United States.

Equally troubling are the tactics used in these cases. According to ILR’s study Think Globally, Sue Locally, transnational cases are characterized by a number of features, including aggressive media tactics, organized protests and boycotts of corporate defendants, political pressure and, in some cases, outright fraud and abuse by plaintiffs’ lawyers. In the major transnational case against Chevron in Ecuador, four federal courts have found the proceedings tainted by fraud.

In April 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum that claims of wrongful conduct on foreign soil cannot be brought in U.S. courts under the ATS.  This ruling has substantially limited the use of the ATS in transnational cases, but does not deter cases brought under state common law. A complete list of lawsuits against corporations under the Alien Tort Statute can be found here

 

Suggested Resources

Research

All Results for Transnational

  1. In the News Today - September 11, 2018

    September 11, 2018 | News

    Litigation Funder Files to Go Public; "Time To Turn Up The Heat On Lawsuit Abuse In Louisiana"... Read More

  2. ILR's Rickard: "No Way" to Know How Much Influence Funders Have If They "Remain in the Dark"

    August 27, 2018 | News

    In an op-ed for the New York Law Journal, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard said there's "no way to reliably determine" just how much influence third party litigation funders have over litigation strategy if their arrangements are hidden from public scrutiny. ... Read More

  3. NYC Bar Committee Chair: Some TPLF Arrangements "Run Afoul" Of Ethics Rules

    August 21, 2018 | News

    Professor Bruce Green, the chair of the New York City Bar's Committee on Professional Ethics, told Legal Newsline in Forbes "that some ways of funding lawyers, financing lawyers, run afoul of the fee-splitting" guidelines.... Read More

  4. In the News Today - August 20, 2018

    August 20, 2018 | News

    Litigation Funder Believes Disclosure Rule is on the Way; UK Corporations Face Growing Risk of Class Actions... Read More

  5. A Big Win for Integrity: New York City Bar Association Rules Out Splitting Fees With Investors

    August 16, 2018 | Blogs

    One of the most influential bar associations in the country has voiced a full-throated condemnation of a core element of the litigation funding business model: promising a percentage of anticipated fees in exchange for cash.... Read More

  6. In the News Today - August 16, 2018

    August 16, 2018 | News

    Former Lawyer Charged With Stealing IDs to Apply For Lawsuit Loans... Read More

  7. In the News Today - August 13, 2018

    August 13, 2018 | News

    Litigation Funders Rail Against NYC Bar's TPLF Warning; A Culture of "Lawyer-Powered Litigation": A Warning to Florida's Small Business Owners... Read More

  8. In the News Today - August 9, 2018

    August 09, 2018 | News

    Lawsuit Reform is Key Ingredient for Arkansas' Future; Lawyer-Lender Fee Deals An Ethics Breach, NYC Bar Says ... Read More

  9. ILR President: Consumers Are the Losers in EU’s Collective Action Proposal

    August 09, 2018 | News

    In an op-ed for Politico EU, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa Rickard warns against instituting U.S.-style class action lawsuits in the European Union. ... Read More

  10. ILR Chair: "If Litigation Finance is Such a Good Thing, Why the Secrecy?"

    August 03, 2018 | News

    In an op-ed for Bloomberg Law, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Chairman and former general counsel of General Electric Brackett Denniston said there is "no good reason" to keep third party litigation funding (TPLF) "secret and shielded from scrutiny."... Read More