Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain

Kyle G. Manikas

Case Conclusion Date:June 29, 2004

Practice Area:Appeals

Outcome:Counsel for Amici Curiae

Description:REQUIRED DISCLAIMER: CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY A LAWYER. The collaborator abducted the alien and delivered him to federal agents in the United States who arrested the alien, but the alien was acquitted of complicity in the murder of a federal agent in Mexico. The alien contended that the United States was liable for false arrest under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and that the alien was liable under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C.S. § 1350, for violation of the international law of nations. The United States Supreme Court held, however, that neither the FTCA nor the ATS provided a remedy for the alien. Despite the alien's assertion that the government's control of the abduction in the United States precluded application of the FTCA exception for claims arising in a foreign country, the exception applied since the alleged harm occurred in Mexico, regardless of whether conduct in the United States was a proximate cause of the harm. Further, while the jurisdictional scope of the ATS extended to recognition of limited claims for violations of the law of nations, the alien's brief illegal detention prior to his transfer to lawful authorities did not amount to a violation of a well defined norm of customary international law.