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45 Alta. L. Rev. 653 (2007-2008)
American and Canadian Civil Actions Alleging Human Rights Violations Abroad by Oil and Gas Companies

handle is hein.journals/alblr45 and id is 661 raw text is: CIVIL ACTIONS ALLEGING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ABROAD  653


Under the United States Alien Tort Statute, which
permits non-U.S, citizens to bring lawsuits in US.
courts for human rights violations that are violations
of the law of nations, plaintiffs have filed claims
against multinational oil and gas corporations for the
direct or complicit commission of such violations
carried out by the government of the country in which
the corporation operated. In addition to exercising
jurisdiction over US. corporations, U.S. courts have
exercised jurisdiction in cases involving non-US.
defendants for alleged wrongful conduct against non-
U.S. plaintiffs committed outside the US.
The exercise of jurisdiction by US. courts over
non-U.S. defendants for alleged wrongful conduct
against non-U.S. plaintiffs committed outside of the
U.S. raises serious questions as to the jurisdictional
foundation on which the power of U.S. courts to
adjudicate them  rests. Defences that foreign
defendants can raise against the exercise of
jurisdiction by the U.S. courts are an objection to the
extraterritorial assertion of jurisdiction, the act of
state doctrine, the political question doctrine, forum
non eonveniens, and the principle of comity. These
defences are bolstered by the support of the
defendant 's home government and other governments.

En vertu du Alien Tort Statute (t.-U.), des citoyens
non 9tats-uniens peuvent engager des poursuites
juridiques aux Etats-Unis pour des infractions aux
droits de la personne constituant des infractions au
droit international; des plaideurs ont intents des
poursuites contre des multinationales dans le secteur
pdtrolier etgazier, impliques directement oupar voie
complice dans celles infractions commises par le
gouvernement du pays oi la socigt avait des
exploitations. Outre le fait d'exercer leurjuridiction
sur les corporations amricaines, les tribunaux
amricains ont exercg leurjuridiction dans des causes
auxquelles des d~fendeurs non tats-uniens &taient
m~lks c desprgtendues conduites transgressives contre
des plaideurs non itats-uniens commises h l'extgrieur
du territoire des Etats-Unis.
L'exercice de a juridiction par les tribunaux
americains 6 l 'Vgard de defendeurs non etats-uniens
pour des pr~tendues conduites transgressives contre
desplaideurs non tats-uniens commises bl 'extrieur
des Etats-Unis soul&ve de graves questions au sujet
des fondements juridictionnels sur lesquels les
tribunaux amricains prennent leur pouvoir. Les
dfenses que les defendeurs &trangers peuvent
presenter contre les tribunaux amdricains reprsentent
une objection b la position extraterritoriale de la
juridiction, I 'acte de Ia doctrine d'tat, Ia doctrine de
la question politique, forum non conveniens, et le
principe de l'adhdsion defdrente. Ces d~fenses sont
soutenues par l'appui du gouvernement du defendeur
et d'autres gouvernements.

1.  INTRODUCTION     .............................................                654
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS ................................ 655
Jonathan Horlick is a lawyer in private practice in Calgary, Alberta. His practice is focused on problem
solving for general counsel of energy sector businesses. In 2002, he was retained by Talisman Energy
to manage its defence in the lawsuit commenced against it in the U.S. Federal Court that arose from
Talisman Energy's now disposed of indirect interest in oil operations in Sudan from 1998-2003. Joe Cyr
and Scott Reynolds are partners, and Andrew Behrman is counsel in the New York office of Lovells
LLP, who has acted as outside counsel for Talisman Energy in the previously mentioned lawsuit from
April 2004 until the present. Some of the material contained in this article was obtained from papers filed
in the Talisman Energy lawsuit.

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