The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2013 - Alien Tort Statute (ATS)
The District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction human rights violation claims asserted under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act. Plaintiffs were members of the Falun Gong movement in China. The defendant, a Chinese government official and member of the Chinese Communist Party, was alleged to have orchestrated the persecution of Falun Gong members in China. Citing Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013), the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims because they solely concerned acts and events that occurred outside the United States, in the territory of another sovereign state. The court also held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant under New York State’s “long arm” statute, which confers jurisdiction on acts conducted in or affecting New York.