District Court Dismisses ATS Claim Where None of the Plaintiffs, Defendants, or Activities Were Linked to the U.S.

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer and Fall 2016 - Alien Tort Statute (ATS)/Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA)/Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA)

Comparelli v. República Bolivariana De Venezuela, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, September 23, 2016

The plaintiffs, Italian citizens, sued Venezuela under the ATS in connection with the expropriation of interests they held in Venezuelan companies, allegedly in violation of international law.  The District Court in Florida stated that the ATS did not have extraterritorial application, and that claims could only proceed if they sufficiently “touch and concern” the territory of the U.S.  Observing that none of the plaintiffs or defendants resided in the US, and that none of the relevant activities occurred in the U.S., the Court concluded that “there is no U.S. focus whatsoever,” and dismissed the case.

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