The U.S. Supreme Court began its 2012-13 Term today with two high profile cases. In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., No. 10-1491, the petitioner Esther Kiobel, filed a class action under the Alien Tort Statute
("ATS"), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, against the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (incorporated in the
Netherlands), Shell Transport and Trading Company (incorporated in the
United Kingdom), and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria
(incorporated in Nigeria). The Supreme Court must decide whether a federal
district court can hear a claim under the ATS when the claim arose out
of conduct in a foreign country. In the Court's second case, Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, No.
11-626, the Court will decide whether an indefinitely moored
houseboat is a "vessel" for purposes of federal maritime jurisdiction.
Check SCOTUS blog for briefs and analysis on both Kiobel and Lozman including recaps for today's arguments. [MF]