Adhikari v. KBR Inc.
Adhikari v. KBR Inc. (Adhikari I & Adhikari II) (S.D. Tex.): Cohen Milstein represented the families of twelve Nepali men and five additional surviving Nepali men who were lured from remote villages in Nepal to Jordan with the promise of well-paying hotel jobs. Instead of the promised jobs, their passports were confiscated, they were imprisoned, and then taken against their will to Iraq. Twelve of the men were killed by insurgents. The surviving men arrived at U.S. military bases in Iraq and were put to work for U.S. military contractors and subcontractors in the mess hall, stocking warehouses, and collecting garbage.
ExxonMobil -Villagers of Aceh Litigation
Doe, Aceh, Indonesia v. ExxonMobil Corporation (D.D.C.): Cohen Milstein represented eleven villagers from Aceh, Indonesia, who alleged that they or their relatives endured horrific human rights abuses, including murder, torture, sexual violence, and kidnapping, at the hands of Indonesian soldiers contracted by ExxonMobil to guard its oil operations in the region. On May 15, 2023, a week before a jury trial was to start and after 20 years of litigation, the case settled. Although the case was litigated in U.S. federal court, Indonesian law applied to Plaintiffs’ claims and was applied by the Court. The case set numerous legal precedents during its 20-year history, during which it saw two trips to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (decided January 2007 and July 2011) and one to the Supreme Court (certiorari was denied in 2008). Each time, novel issues of foreign policy impact, extraterritorial jurisdiction, and choice of law were briefed and considered by the Court of Appeals. In August 2022, months before trial, the Court largely denied ExxonMobil’s motion for summary judgment, finding most of its arguments “entirely meritless.”
Paul Rusesabagina, et al. v. The Republic of Rwanda, et al.
Paul Rusesabagina, et al. v. The Republic of Rwanda, et al. (D.D.C.): U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Paul Rusesabagina and his family against the Republic of Rwanda, the President of Rwanda and other members of the government for allegedly kidnapping Paul and taking him back to Rwanda, where he was imprisoned, tortured and subjected to a sham trial. Mr. Rusesabagina is perhaps best known for saving thousands of lives during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, a story that inspired the Academy-Award-nominated film, Hotel Rwanda. On March 16, 2023, the court held that three Rwandan officials must face plaintiffs’ claims. A week later, after negotiations with the White House, Rwanda released Paul and, after two-and-a-half years in captivity, he returned home to the United States.
Sorihin and Abdul Fatah v. Thoai Van Nguyen dba Sea Queen II
Sorihin and Abdul Fatah v. Thoai Van Nguyen dba Sea Queen II (N.D. Cal.): Cohen Milstein filed and successfully settled the first-ever human trafficking lawsuit against the U.S. commercial fishing industry under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and the Alien Tort Statute. We represented two Indonesian men who escaped from the Sea Queen II fishing boat, U.S. commercial fishing vessel, when it docked in San Francisco, California. The men were allegedly subjected to human trafficking and forced labor on the vessel in the Pacific Ocean. The precedential settlement included provisions intended to protect future seamen, including a code of conduct for ship captains and a hand-out for seamen informing them of their rights and who to call for help.