Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Excerpt from interesting blogpost:

Another aspect of Sinaltrainal is the Eleventh Circuit's reliance on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), which extends the heightened pleading standards laid out in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) to all cases. To maintain their ATS claims, the plaintiffs in Sinaltrainal had to sufficiently plead that "the paramilitaries were state actors or were sufficiently connected to the Columbian government so they were acting under color of law." Slip op. at 22-23. Accordingly, the plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that it is "universally acknowledged that the regular military and the civil government authorities in Columbia tolerate the paramilitaries, allow them to operate, and often cooperate, protect and/or work in concert with them." Id. at 23. The court, however, found this allegation lacking under Iqbal and held that the plaintiffs' "conclusory allegation that the paramilitary security forces acted under color of law is not entitled to be assumed true and is insufficient to allege state-sponsored action." Id. at 23. This holding suggests that Iqbal may put the brakes on the growing trend of allowing cases based on dubious theories of vicarious corporate ATS liability to proceed to trial.