Doe v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

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John Doe VII v. Exxon Mobil Corp (09–7125) is a lawsuit filed in the United States by 15 Indonesian villagers against Exxon Mobil Corporation from the oil-rich province of Aceh, Indonesia. The case has widespread implications for multinational corporations doing business in other countries. The case may eventually reach the Supreme Court because lower federal courts have disagreed on the liability of United States companies operating outside of the United States. Fifteen Indonesian villagers claim government security forces working for Exxon Mobil committed brutal oppression while guarding a natural gas facility in 2000 to 2001. On July 8, 2011 a divided 2-1 panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, reversed part of a ruling by the federal district court reinstating the lawsuit. In their decision, the court stated that the 1789 Alien Tort Statute allowed corporations in foreign countries to be "held liable for the torts committed by their agents."[1][2]


The 15 Indonesian villagers contended in their lawsuit that family members were "beaten, burned, shocked with cattle prods, kicked, and subjected to other forms of brutality and cruelty" amounting to torture in Indonesia's Aceh province between 1999 and 2001, during a period of civil unrest. Exxon Mobil retained soldiers from Indonesia's military as guards for a natural gas facility in Aceh, despite knowing of past human rights abuses by the Indonesian army, leading to human rights violations against Aceh villagers.[2]