Five On Friday – Five Recent Developments That We've Been Watching Closely

Author:Ms Sarah Altschuller
Profession:Foley Hoag LLP

It's Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we've been monitoring.

This week's post includes: updates on litigation in the Doe v. Nestle case; a private members' bill in the United Kingdom that would expand the scope of the Modern Slavery Act; and an easing of U.S. sanctions against Sudan.

As noted previously, the U.S. Government released its National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct on December 16. There continues to be lots of debate among key stakeholders regarding the plan, with many stakeholders both expressing concerns that the Plan did not go far enough while also raising concerns that the Plan reflects a range of activities that may come under scrutiny during the Trump Administration. Germany, Switzerland, and Italy also released National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights in December. 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. On January 6, the District Court for the Central District of California issued a notice in the in the Doe v. Nestle  litigation that it...

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