11 June 2012
On April 18, the Supreme Court held that the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA) applied only to individuals and not to organizations or corporations. Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, No. 11-88 (April 18, 2012). Although some Circuits had previously gone the other way, and the Court resolved a split by this decision, the Supreme Court’s finding did not come as a surprise to those jurists familiar with the TVPA. Compare Aziz v. Alcolac, 658 F. 3d 388 (4th Cir. 2011) (TVPA excludes corporate defendants from liability); Mohamad v. Rajoub, 634 F.3d 604 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (TVPA liability limited to natural persons); Bowoto v. Chevron, 621 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2010) (same), with Sinaltrainal v. Coca Cola, 578 F.3d 1252, 1264, n.13 (11th Cir. 2009) (TVPA liability extends to corporations); Romero v. Drummond, 552 F.3d 1303, 1315 (11th Cir. 2008) (same); Aldana v. Del Monte, 416 F.3d 1242, 1265 (11th Cir. 2005) (same).