Cohen Milstein represents eleven Indonesian citizens suing Exxon Mobil Corporation for abuses allegedly committed by ExxonMobil’s security personnel. The suit alleges that ExxonMobil hired and paid Indonesian soldiers to provide security at ExxonMobil's natural gas facility in Indonesia. Plaintiffs allege that these security personnel, under ExxonMobil’s control and within the scope of employment, physically abused and killed their family members who lived or worked in villages within Exxon’s sprawling operations in rural Aceh, Indonesia.
On August 27, 2008 the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Exxon Mobil's motion for summary judgment, permitting plaintiffs’ common law claims to proceed against both Exxon Mobil Corporation and its subsidiary. The opinion cited “evidence that these security forces committed the alleged atrocities” and evidence that the guards were under ExxonMobil’s employ. The court concluded that plaintiffs’ claims could proceed to trial before a jury to determine ExxonMobil’s liability. Counsel for the plaintiffs noted that “The court’s ruling is based on a simple legal principle that has been true for centuries—a company, ExxonMobil, can be liable for the wrongful acts of its employees. We look forward to bringing this case to trial to hold the company accountable.”
On July 8, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the lawsuit against ExxonMobil for human rights abuses can go forward. The Court of Appeals’ opinion is a big victory for the Plaintiffs and for international human rights enforcement.
Opinion - July 8, 2011 [PDF]
Press Release - July 8, 2011 [PDF]
Exxon Human Rights Case Survives - on Claim that Execs Knew All Along
July 16, 2015