By on April 23, 2013

The American justice system has shown a large degree of overreach in the not so distant past, punishing or shaking down foreign companies for misdeeds performed on foreign soils by foreign perpetrators on foreign victims. This is not a matter of right or wrong. It is a matter of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Enough is enough, says the U.S. Supreme Court and decided to hear Daimler’s appeal  against a decision by a San Francisco court that  workers or relatives of workers at an Argentina-based plant operated by Mercedes-Benz, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, can sue for alleged human rights abuses performed by Daimler in the 1970s in collusion with Argentina’s then military junta. Daimler had been on the receiving end of judicial overreach in the past.

According to Reuters, plaintiffs “ claimed the company had punished plant workers viewed by managers as union agitators and that it had worked alongside the Argentinian military and police forces.”

The dispute is not about the allegations; the dispute is about whether suit can be brought in America for alleged misdeeds perpetrated by foreigners outside of the country, simply on the very thin grounds “that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant.”

The case isn’t won yet, but Daimler can breathe a little easier.

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20 Comments on “Supreme Court Halts Human Rights Case Against Daimler...”


  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    “The dispute is not about the allegations; the dispute is about whether suit can be brought in America for alleged misdeeds perpetrated by foreigners outside of the country, simply on the very thin grounds “that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant.””

    Fantastic! So all I have to do is start a new corporation in a foreign country and then I can get away with whatever I want and I can’t be held legally responsible. It is genius I tell you!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The Supreme Court dishonors itself and all of America with this ridiculous decision.

    Terms like “jurisdiction”, “sovereignty”, and “overreach” are irrelevant when it comes to protecting the weak, poor, sick, or trod-upon from injustice.

    No matter where or when injustice occurs, it is America’s right and duty to balance the scales, because lord knows no one else will.

    Hell, if we’re going to have a global reputation for being belligerent imperialist jerks anyway, we might as well walk the damn walk!

    • 0 avatar
      noreaster

      If you’re serious, you are one scary dude.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>Terms like “jurisdiction”, “sovereignty”, and “overreach” are irrelevant when it comes to protecting the weak, poor, sick, or trod-upon from injustice.<<

      That's not law, that's an emotional rant.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      It’s not for the US government to run around crusading against each and every perceived injustice on earth. Not only is it unconstitutional, it’d be a complete, open-ended waste of resources.

      Besides, “injustices” used to be legitimate things like genocide and militarily attacking the country next door. Now, hurt feelings and offended sensibilities are considered injustices.

      Even more reason to stay at home.

      If the “crime” didn’t happen in American jurisdiction, or against an American interest, it’s not America’s business.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
      Some might be appalled at my good intentions and I have certainly been appalled at some of theirs. Depends on the definition of good, I guess.
      I don’t want some poofter court in the Hague deciding one way or the other, either. The reciprocal of that is the 9th Circus or other US courts shouldn’t be righting 40 year old foreign wrongs.
      We can’t even fix ourselves; let’s try that first.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    When the Supremes decide to hear cases from the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals they do it for a reason and that lower court is usually reversed.

    About 80% of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      Ah yes, the 9th Circus Court of Appeals.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      But the 6th Circuit is reversed even more:

      http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/a_sixth_sense_6th_circuit_has_surpassed_the_9th_as_the_most_reversed_appeal/

      The Supreme Court often chooses controversial cases or cases with high impact and chooses a very small number of cases from any particular circuit to hear. Certain people loving pointing out the 9th Circuit’s reversal rate, but ignore the fact that there are also many cases where other courts come around to the 9th Circuit’s opinion too. The 9th is an influential circuit and often leads the charge.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Hot-diggity! Another 300-comment political rant fest.

    My food-nazi would frown on all the popcorn carbs I’m gonna get.

  • avatar
    pbxtech

    I love this blog when it is about cars, that’s why I’m taking the time to ask you to stay on topic rather than just not returning. You guys have some of the coolest car stuff on the web. I find political stories unwelcome. When you read car stories written by primarily political writers, I expect you cringe too. I suppose I was remiss in not praising you guys sooner, instead waiting until I have a complaint. The Detroit automakers did not keep “their eyes on the prize” and lost their dominance. You have carved out an excellent niche that no other site touches. I don’t speak from any expertise, so maybe I’m wrong. Best of luck:)

    • 0 avatar
      Yeah_right

      You wrote a measured, logical, legitimate response. I disagree with you, but will state my disagreement without attempting to be snarky or sarcastic.

      I like the political threads that are only tangentially related to autos. The stories themselves are often interesting and the comments from the B&B are usually informative, educational, and clever.

      I wouldn’t come to the site if it was only politics, but I do like the occasional sidetrack away from people arguing about the timing pattern of a 67 GTO…

    • 0 avatar
      drivelikejehu

      There is only so much ‘pure’ car stuff to talk about, yet blogs are expected to produce lots of content. Here’s an easy fix though- don’t read an article if the title clearly identifies it as uninteresting to you. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    Onus

    My guess is this will go through. Previously Daimler was charged with bribery having bribed Russian officials or something. The us fined them since they are listed on the nyse and thus under their jurisdiction.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Chevron our local town pump, has a law suit from south america is being heard in toronto. I really dont know how it ended up here.
    It can costs our system 1-2 million expenses, then bring $$ to legal communities.
    The loser will pick up the tab ie court costs, probably not the whole thing.


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