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Doe I v. Nestle USA, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
766 F.3d 1013 (2014)


Facts

Nestle USA, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill Incorporated Company, and Cargill Cocoa (defendants) controlled the majority of the cocoa produced in the Ivory Coast. However, the use of child slave labor in the Ivory Coast to produce cocoa was confirmed by many domestic and international organizations. The defendants provided both financial assistance and technical farming assistance to the cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, including visiting the farms a few times per year for training and quality control. Additionally, the defendants lobbied against potential federal reforms designed to curb the use of child slaves. Three former child slaves (plaintiffs) were forced to work on the cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast. The plaintiffs: (1) worked up to 14 hours per day, six days a week; (2) were locked in small rooms at night; (3) were not allowed to leave the plantations and were aware of brutal punishments for failed escapees, like having feet cut open and being forced to drink urine; (4) were only given scraps of food to eat; and (5) were whipped and beaten. The plaintiffs sued the defendants, alleging liability under the Alien Tort Statute and seeking class-action status. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants aided and abetted child slavery by providing assistance to the cocoa farmers. The defendants moved to dismiss the claims, and the trial court granted the motion. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nelson, J.)

Dissent (Rawlinson, J.)

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