What the following article means is this: The Supreme Court refused to review the suit. They only review a small fraction of what is sent to them, so it is no surprise and was most likely a stall tactic from the Nestlé side. Now this suit get thrown back to the 9th Circuit where it will be in process of going to trail. Basically, the US Supreme Court doesn't review until it has to, and it left it to the 9th Circuit to continue.
Nestle Loses Bid For High Court Review In Child Slavery Suit
By Joe Van Acker
Law360, New York (January 11, 2016, 3:44 PM ET) -- The U.S. Supreme Court revealed Monday that it will not hear a bid by Nestle USA Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Cargill Incorporated Co. to overturn a decision allowing former child slaves to proceed with their suit accusing the companies of propping up a torturous chattel system to get cheap African cocoa.
In their petition to the high court, Nestle and the others claimed that the Ninth Circuit interpreted the Alien Tort Statute too broadly when it allowed the suit to proceed in 2014, arguing that the statute’s aiding-and-abetting provisions only apply to businesses that intentionally break the rules.
However, Nestle maintained on Monday that the law is on its side and said that it looks forward to proceeding to the merits of the case.
“The use of child labor is unacceptable and goes against everything Nestle stands for,” the company said in a statement. “Nestle is committed to following and respecting all international laws and is dedicated to the goal of eradicating child labor from our cocoa supply chain.”
Facing off against the corporate defendants are three unnamed Malian laborers looking to certify a class covering thousands of other children who were trafficked from their homeland to Cote d'Ivoire to harvest cocoa beans that were later used in the companies’ products.
Nestle uses the beans for candy bars and other products, while ADM and Cargill process them into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, chocolate and other goods, according to court filings.
In their 2005 complaint, the John Does alleged that they underwent a harrowing ordeal that began when they were taken as early as age 12 and forced to start working on cocoa plantations, where they remained for years, subject to whippings, meager provisions and mutilation at the hands of their captors.
Five years into the suit, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted the companies’ motion to dismiss, finding that a corporate agent can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute but a corporation itself cannot, prompting an appeal from the former slaves.
The Ninth Circuit said that, after essentially lying dormant for 200 years, the ATS was given new life in 1980 by a Second Circuit ruling allowing two Paraguayan citizens to sue a police officer from that country who tortured and killed their son.
That case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which held that the law provides U.S. federal courts with jurisdiction to hear hybrid common law-international law tort claims.
Based on that decision, and the fact that private citizens faced slavery claims during the Nuremberg Trials after the Holocaust, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the global prohibition of slavery provides victims with legal recourse against anyone, not just state actors.
After Nestle, Cargill and ADM petitioned the Supreme Court for a review of that decision, the former slaves said the companies’ appeal was premature because they intend to amend their complaint as Judge Wilson allowed, and because the Ninth Circuit simply said their allegations were sufficient to proceed.
Paul Hoffman, an attorney for the former slaves, told Law360 that he was “pleased” that the Supreme Court didn’t take the case.
“We and our clients are very pleased that the court is allowing our case to go forward,” he said.
In a statement of its own, Cargill told Law360 that like Nestle, it was disappointed that the petition was denied but eager for the case to begin in earnest.