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New featured column: "Legal imperialism"

Our newest entry in the Featured Column series explains the astounding growth in entrepreneurial litigation under the Alien Tort Statute, which sometimes seems to operate as a charter for lawyers to bring all the far-flung grievances of a troubled world into American courts for cash settlement. "Consider one class-action lawsuit, in which a plaintiffs firm sued Deutsche Bank on behalf of an African tribe which suffered atrocities committed by imperial Germany in the 19th century. ...Cases involving wholly foreign events routinely consist of tens or hundreds of thousands of 'John Doe' plaintiffs who reside in remote locations as distant as Sudan and Pakistan. The size of the class of defendants has also grown to 500 or more deep-pocketed individuals or companies."

Authors Joseph Finnerty III and John Merrigan, both of DLA Piper, put their finger on the essential arrogance of the statute's expansion: "Imagine our justifiable indignation if courts in Japan, France or Russia determined they had jurisdiction over alleged wrongdoing by Americans, in America, against other Americans. It takes a thoroughly arrogant view of the world -� call it legal imperialism �- to presume that our courts should be the arbiter of problems everywhere, whether or not the problem had anything whatsoever to do with the U.S."

Whole thing here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.