Rohit Punj


In Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, the District Court for the Southern District of New York held that there was subject matter jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Claims Act [hereinafter ATCA], and that the Court could assert personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation under New York law. The Court treated Talisman Energy [hereinafter Talisman], a Canadian corporation, as a state actor for ATCA purposes and further found that Talisman's acts constituted jus cogens violations. This Court's ruling reaffirmed Second Circuit and international treaty precedent, which holds that corporations may be held liable for }us cogens violations under the ATCA. However, the District Court's ruling expanded the Court's subject matter jurisdiction under the ATCA. First, the Court reaffirmed that a corporation engaging in genocide need not act under color of state law in order to be subject to jus cogens violations under the ATCA. Secondly, the Court determined that even if a corporation were not acting directly under color of state law, demonstration of a "substantial degree of cooperation" between a corporation and a state is sufficient to treat the corporation as a state actor under the ATCA.



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