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Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell litigation

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by Sarah A. Altschuller

The name Kiobel is familiar to many who follow litigation regarding human rights in the United States. Esther Kiobel was a plaintiff in the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum litigation that led to the 2013 Supreme Court decision which established that the presumption against extraterritoriality applies in cases brought pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute.

Ms. Kiobel is back in U.S. court, this time pursuing access to documents held by Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, which represented Royal Dutch Shell in the earlier litigation.

The documents in question are all confidential documents that Ms. Kiobel had access to while the earlier litigation was pending, but that she, and her counsel, were required to return or destroy when the litigation concluded.

Ms. Kiobel is relying on the Foreign Legal Assistance statute to support her request for the documents, which she intends to use to support a case that she is filing against Royal Dutch Shell in The Netherlands. On December 20, the District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered Cravath to turn over the documents, subject to an appropriate protective order.

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