Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rules Against Effort to Sue in US over Foreign Company's Actions Elsewhere

Unanimous decision


The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder to sue foreign companies in American courts, prompting a justice in a concurrence to accuse the majority of creating "a new rule of constitutional law that is unmoored from decades of precedent."

In a second decision, the justices unanimously ruled that an antitrust case brought by Mississippi's attorney general could not be moved from state court to federal court.

The first case, Daimler AG v. Bauman, No. 11-965, arose from abuses committed during Argentina's so-called Dirty War, which occurred from 1976 to 1983. Twenty-two residents of Argentina, contending that Daimler's Argentine subsidiary had collaborated with state security services in killings, torture and other abuses, sued Daimler in California. The suit was proper there, the plaintiffs said, in light of business conducted in the state by an American subsidiary of Daimler that was incorporated in Delaware.

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the contention, though for sharply different reasons.