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Be Careful What You Wish For in a World of Global Law

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6 Responses

  1. Anna says:

    Chevron defends Texaco’s crimes with lies and misinformation. Chevron said that it did not have to clean up the contamination because the Ecuadorian government released it from liability after Texaco cleaned up some of the oil sites. This is what Chevron didn’t say. One, the “release agreement” with the government excluded individual claims, saying there was no way the government would or could prevent an individual from suing Texaco in the future. Two, Texaco never cleaned up the pits, so the agreement is null and void anyway. Court evidence has shown oil site after oil site with high levels of contamination, even though Texaco claimed to have remediated the site. For the truth, click here:

  2. Welcome Bob -a few comments:

    “Litigation under the Alien Tort Statute is now almost impossible for environmental plaintiffs to win because the Supreme Court set the bar so high when it decided Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain in 2004.”

    You seem to lament this state of affairs. But Sosa was seemingly non-controversial on this issue. Justice Souter’s opinion was a unanimous smackdown of the Ninth Circuit (natch) and even Justice Ginsburg in her concurrence only differentiated on the FTCA portion – not the ATS. Notably she did not,as is often her wont, call upon Congress to make clear that this 200 year old piece of legislation was designed to encompass any lawsuit brought by anyone who isn’t a straight,white male. Otherwise, in the insightful words of Madame Speaker “So this is almost as if God has spoken.”

    …and speaking of Speaker Pelosi – she’s our spokesperson to encourage the Chinese to cut their standard of living and economic growth so that our President and other so-called progressives can continue to turn more of our lives over to federal purview?

    Whew! – I was worried we might be making a serious effort at this.

  3. British Schol says:

    There is no reason to call the Ecuador court hostile just because it held that poisoning children is tortious. Were the US courts hostile in imposing billions of dollars of liability on Exxon for Valdez, or Enron for completely monetary harm (mostly to speculators)? No, but when some indigenous people get justice the court is all of a sudden hostile and unfair. That’s basically the attitude of Maryland Conservatarian up above who says an entire statute should be thrown out because it might benefit brown people.

  4. A.J. Sutter says:

    I’m uncear on how “global law” is being created in these instances. Judging by the evidence presented here, this seems like a buzzword looking for a place to land.

    From the examples you mention, US courts aren’t making favorable decisions in these environmental suits; the best result was a settlement (Doe v. Unocal). Saro-wiwa v. Shell is just barely entering the trial phase, which is to date less of of an accomplishment than Sosa and other ATS cases lost on appeal. The greater success may be in Ecuador, though that case isn’t yet resolved. But assuming Chevron loses, Ecuador is where the damage occurred: that seems like quite traditional tort law.

    You do mention that plaintiffs are using publicity in their fight against sub-standard environmental practices. But is that creating “global law”? Is it creating “norms”? (As a practitioner, rather than a prof, this word remains quite opaque to me.) If the latter, are they legal norms or business norms?

  5. British Schol (is that meant to be ironic?) writes: “That’s basically the attitude of Maryland Conservatarian up above who says an entire statute should be thrown out because it might benefit brown people.”

    I said what?

  6. British Schol says:

    Maryland Conservatarian condemned Justice Ginsburg for past decisions in which she was so politically incorrect as to use a “this 200 year old piece of legislation … to encompass any lawsuit brought by anyone who isn’t a straight,white male”. Clear of what you said now?

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