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Can Egypt's Telecom Giants Be Sued In the US? 105

bedouin writes "In April, the Egyptian Centre for Housing Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of other plaintiffs against the three telecommunications companies (and a number of current and former Egyptian officials) seeking compensation for the damages they suffered due to the shutdown of communications. The case is ongoing. An interesting question is whether any of these companies could also be sued in US courts."
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Can Egypt's Telecom Giants Be Sued In the US?

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  • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @05:21AM (#36237044) Homepage

    One of the companies is Vodafone, who own 45% of Verizon, so there are plenty of US assets to get hold of.

  • They can (Score:5, Informative)

    by cappp ( 1822388 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @05:25AM (#36237054)
    As provided by TFA, the Alien’s Action for Tort [cornell.edu] is the relevent statute and states

    The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.

    There's some decent caselaw and precedent if anyone's intersted - Wiki has a little summary [wikipedia.org] that shouldn't take too long to browse through. Long story short, it's certainly possible but there are some pretty high barriers to use (see specifically the ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum [ed.ac.uk] [pdf]). It's a lot easier if its person on person, moreso if one of those is physically in the US, but it extends to corporations and non-residents as well.

  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @06:08AM (#36237172)

    Should the US be using international trade sanctions to enforce its own laws in other countries?

    Too late, the US has been doing this for some time. How do you think the rash of DMCA-like laws have been forced on other countries in recent years? Where I live, file sharing of even of copyrighted works among friends was not illegal (no profit motive) until the US forced DMCA-like laws to be adopted by our government. It was surely not the population who voted this into law and made a large percentage of the population criminal overnight. As an American ex-pat living abroad, this brings me no small amount of shame.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor