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US Court Denies Human Rights Abuse Case vs Daimler in California

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that German car-maker Daimler cannot be sued in California over allegations of human rights violations in Argentina during the Buenos Aires government's "dirty war" against leftists 40 years ago.

The decision was seen as a boost for multinational companies facing lawsuits alleging misconduct abroad.

The automaker faced allegations that its Mercedes-Benz subsidiary violated the human rights of workers at a plant in Argentina in the 1970s.

On a unanimous vote, the court said that Daimler's connections with California were not sufficient for it to face a lawsuit there. The court reversed a May 2011 ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of human rights plaintiffs.

The legal question was whether a U.S. court has the authority to hear a case against a foreign corporation "solely on the fact that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant" in the state where the lawsuit was filed, which in this instance was California.