On July 8, 2021, PJI intervened at the U.S. Supreme Court by filing an amicus brief in the consolidated appeal known as In Re: Chiquita Brands International, Inc., Alien Tort Statute and Shareholder Derivative Litigation.
PJI was joined on this brief by the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) and represented by Foley Hoag LLP. Counsel for the plaintiffs include EarthRights International, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Paul Hoffman, Arturo Carrillo, Judith Brown Chomsky, and John DeLeon.
PJI’s brief asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had allowed the trial court to lift a protective order shielding identifying information of victims and witnesses to atrocity crimes without a showing of good cause as to why that protection was no longer needed. Our brief argued that survivors of international crimes and grave human rights violations often participate in justice processes at great risk to themselves and to their families, and that protection from public disclosure of their identities and personal information is thus often essential for their access to justice. As a result, the lower court’s decision risked obstructing access to justice for survivors of international crimes and grave human rights violations both in this case and throughout the federal judiciary.
The brief further argued that where the physical or psychological security of survivors of grave human rights abuses and international crimes is at risk because of litigation, survivors must be able to rely on protections they have been afforded by the courts, without fear that their personal information might later be revealed, absent a showing of good cause. Indeed, courts adjudicating international crimes and grave human rights abuses routinely order protective measures from public disclosure to safeguard the privacy and security of survivors, balancing the rights of the accused perpetrators to a public trial with the imperative to protect survivors of atrocity crimes.
The Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari on October 4, 2021. While this is a disappointing outcome for this appeal, we hope that PJI’s intervention will assist continued efforts by plaintiffs’ counsel in this case to help protect victims of the AUC’s terrorist violence, who accuse Chiquita of funding that violence, to have their day in court without facing additional risks to their safety.
This brief was the PJI Legal Team’s third intervention in the Chiquita case. Find out more.
Read the brief here: