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Foley Hoag Files Amicus Brief before the US Supreme Court on behalf of Partners in Justice International and Center for Victims of Torture

July 13, 2021

Foley Hoag LLP on behalf of  Partners in Justice International and Center for Victims of Torture, intervened at the U.S. Supreme Court by filing an amicus brief in the consolidated appeal known as In Re: Chiquita Brands International, Inc., Alien Tort Statute and Shareholder Derivative Litigation.

The brief asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which had allowed the district court to lift a protective order shielding identifying information of victims and witnesses to atrocity crimes without a showing of good cause as to why that protection was no longer needed. Amici argued that survivors often participate in justice processes at great risk to themselves and to their families, and that protection from public disclosure of their identities and personal information is thus often essential for access to judicial recourse. As a result, the lower court’s decision risked obstructing access to justice for survivors of international crimes and grave human rights violations both in this case and throughout the federal judiciary.

The brief further argued that where the physical or psychological security of survivors is at risk because of litigation, survivors must be able to rely on protections they have been afforded by the courts, without fear that their personal and identifying information might later be revealed, absent a showing of good cause. Indeed, both U.S. domestic and international courts adjudicating crimes and grave human rights abuses routinely order protective measures from public disclosure to safeguard the privacy and security of survivors, balancing the rights of the accused to a public trial with the imperative to protect survivors of atrocity crimes.

The Foley Hoag attorneys who represented amici are Christina Hioureas, Brittan Heller, Christopher Hart, Richard Maidman and Laura Gradel.