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Supreme Court takes case on suing foreign companies, denies tobacco advertising case

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in one new case [order list, PDF] on Monday. In DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman [cert. petition, PDF; docket] the court will consider "whether it violates due process for a court to exercise general personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based solely on the fact that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant in the forum state" under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) [text]. This question was explicitly left open in last week's decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum [JURIST report]. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] for Barbara Bauman, who represented 21 Argentine residents, allowing them to bring suit for the actions of Mercedes-Benz Argentina [official website, in Spanish] during the nation's 1976-1983 "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive].

The court denied certiorari in American Snuff v. United States [docket], which challenged the US Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit ruling [JURIST report] that allowed the federal government to require graphic cigarette label warnings [JURIST news archive]. The court ruled unanimously that the portions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) [HR 1256 text] designed to limit the tobacco industry's ability to advertise to children, including a ban on distributing clothing and goods with logos or brand names, as well as sponsorship of cultural, athletic and social events requiring cigarette packaging and advertisements, is a valid restriction of commercial speech under the First Amendment [text].

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