Today, April 22nd, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the lawsuit which claims that Daimler violated human rights against employees at its Argentina facility in the 1970s.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the plaintiff’s claims to be heard in the federal court. The company was sued by workers and relatives of workers at Daimler’s Argentina plant, operated by Mercedes-Benz. According to the claims, the automaker had punished employees at the plant, considered by the managers as union agitators and that the company has worked alongside the Argentinean police forces.
Last week the high court limited the plaintiffs’ ability to invoke the 1789 Alien Tort Statute when they sue companies over collusions with violent foreign governments. On a similar case, a federal Court in New York said it cannot hear the claims made by 12 Nigerian citizens, that were accusing the Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell of complicity in a crackdown on protesters from 1992 to 1995 in Nigeria.
Daimler’s case is quite different as it its ‘subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant’ in the state where the suit was filed, which is California. According to the plaintiffs, they chose to file the lawsuit in California as Mercedes, which is a subsidiary of Daimler, distributes Daimler vehicles to dealerships located in this state.