Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that represents a stunning reversal in two of the most important tort suits concerning the violation of human rights ever to be filed in an American court.
Both Khulumani v. Barclay National Bank and Ntsebeza v. Daimler Chrysler Corp. involved class actions filed on behalf of all persons who lived under the apartheid system in South Africa. The defendants were approximately 50 international corporations and banks, and the damages sought were estimated at approximately $400 billion.
In this column, Part One in a two-part series, I will analyze the Second Circuit’s decision to allow the suits to be heard by the district court, and I will argue that the “victory” the plaintiffs won has much less to it than meets the eye.(...more)