FedEx Establishes Direct Presence in Nigeria to Support Customers with International TradeRead more Open Society Foundations (OSF) Award $1.1 Million Grant to Afrobarometer to Spur Future GrowthRead more The annual Global Impact Conference 2022 brings together visionary business leaders to revolutionize educational systems and inspire collaborative actionRead more APO Group announces content partnership with Pan-African broadcaster VoxAfricaRead more MainOne, an Equinix Company’s MDXi Appolonia Achieves Tier III Constructed Facility certification (TCCF), Now Most Certified Data Center in GhanaRead more United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns rising tide of hunger, insecurity, and underfunding worsening gender-based violence risksRead more The Royal Thai Embassy presents the cultures of Thailand at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Festival in KenyaRead more Climate change is the biggest global threat, young people in Africa and Europe tell European Investment Bank (EIB), Debating Africa and Debating EuropeRead more $2 million in prizes awarded at Conference of the Parties (COP27) to African youth-led businessesRead more Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather to chart Africa’s economic rebirthRead more

US Supreme Court tosses slavery case against Cargill, Nestle USA

show caption
The US Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit against Cargill and Nestle USA./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Jun 18, 2021 - 07:36 AM

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit on Thursday against Cargill and Nestle USA that accused the food giants of aiding and abetting slavery by using cocoa harvested from plantations in the Ivory Coast that used forced child labor.

In an 8-1 ruling, the court ruled that US courts did not have the jurisdiction to decide the case, which was filed by six citizens of Mali who said they had been used as child slaves in the Ivory Coast.

A lower court, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, had allowed the lawsuit to proceed but the nation’s highest court disagreed.

“Respondents here seek a judicially created cause of action to recover damages from American corporations that allegedly aided and abetted slavery abroad,” the court said in its opinion.

“Although respondents’ injuries occurred entirely overseas, the Ninth Circuit held that respondents could sue in federal court because the defendant corporations allegedly made ‘major operational decisions’ in the United States,” it said.

“The Ninth Circuit erred by allowing this suit to proceed.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2005 by six Malians who say they were trafficked as children then held as slaves on Ivorian farms, where the US subsidiary of Switzerland-based Nestle and the American agricultural giant Cargill have purchased cocoa.

The suit alleged that the two companies knew what was occurring on the farms.

Lower courts had validated the suit under a 1789 law known as the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which gives US federal courts jurisdiction to hear certain civil actions filed by foreign nationals.

The law, initially intended to fight piracy, has taken on a second life over the last 50 years with lawsuits filed that allege human rights abuses.

But the Supreme Court has repeatedly restricted its scope, such as in 2018 when it ruled against claims against foreign countries.

In Thursday’s ruling, the Supreme Court said the plaintiffs were improperly seeking “extraterritorial application of the ATS.”

“Nearly all the conduct that they say aided and abetted forced labor — providing training, fertilizer, tools, and cash to overseas farms — occurred in Ivory Coast,” it said.

Former president Donald Trump’s administration supported the companies during arguments before the court.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.