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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Companies can’t be subject to US lawsuits by foreigners seeking damages for human rights violations

Last week in a landmark case the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a federal appeals court, ruled in the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that companies can not be subject to U.S. lawsuits by foreigners seeking damages for human rights violations under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C.Section 1350). In its decision the court ruled that the Alien Tort Statute gives U.S. courts jurisdiction only over alleged violations of international law by individuals and not alleged violations by corporations. The decision dismisses the claims brought by a group of Nigerians that Shell aided in the torture and murder of dissidents in Nigeria during the 1990s. The full text of the court decision can be found at: (

Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes wrote in his majority opinion that the Alien Tort Statute only allows U.S. courts to hear death and injury claims, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, by non-U.S. citizens connected to violations of international law.

In the dissenting opinion of Circuit Judge Pierre N. Leval he wrote that he agreed that the case should be dismissed but disagreed that the Alien Tort Statute applies only to individuals. He stated that the plaintiffs didn’t properly claim Shell intended to cause the Nigerian government to violate human rights. Judge Leval wrote that the majority opinion “deals a substantial blow to international law and its undertaking to protect fundamental human rights.”

This is a case of major impact. However, this may not be the last word on the Alien Tort Statute because the decision can still be reconsidered by the full U.S. Circuit of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Eventually I think this case and other similar cases will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Facebook Page & Twitter Posts for the weeks of August 29th, & September 5th

This is a summary of posts for the weeks of August 29th & September 5th to Twitter and the Arocho Law Office Facebook Page:

Employee or Independent Contractor: Watch Your Classifications-Compliance with the rules governing worker classifications can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Could a Peanut Paste End Malnutrition?

A Start-Ups' Guide to Business Licenses & Permits - Be Compliant from the Get-Go:

Getting Started in State and Local Government Contracting – A Small Business 101:

How Much Money Do I Need? – A Guide to Estimate Your New Business Startup Expenses:

Friday, September 10, 2010

New 1099 Requirements Starting 2012 for Your Business

Did you know that starting in 2012 all businesses will be required to prepare Form 1099-MISC for all services and goods purchased from all vendors in excess of $600. The 1099 would have to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service and the person or entity you paid. Presently business are only required to file a 1099-MISC for services in excess of $600 and most corporations are exempt from receiving a 1099.

These new reporting requirements are in section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code), which was amended by section 9006 of the recently passed health care reform legislation - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (the Act). It should be noted once again that the new reporting requirements under these amendments apply to payments made only after December 31, 2011.

This new requirement will be burdensome and costly for small businesses to compile the data and prepare the Form 1099-MISC information return. It presents an overwhelming compliance burden on the small business community. For example, as the requirements stands now it seems that any time a small business makes a purchase at an office supply store in excess of $600 it will have to send a 1099 for that purchase to the store at the end of the year.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will be issuing guidance and regulations on how to comply with this new requirement. As a result they have asked for comments from the public. You can find further information regarding public comment at Your comments can help the IRS issue implements the requirements of this new law in a manner that minimizes burden on your small business.