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Doe v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
573 F. Supp. 2d 16 (2008)


Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) (defendant) was the parent company of an Indonesian company, ExxonMobil Oil Indonesia (EMOI) (defendant). EMOI processed natural gas in a gas field in Indonesia. The Indonesian government had classified the field as a “Vital National Object,” which required military security protection. EMOI paid for military security forces to guard the field, although Exxon closely oversaw much of this relationship. Specifically, there was evidence that EMOI was ill-equipped to handle the issue of the field’s security on its own. EMOI looked to Exxon for support both strategically and financially. Exxon provided funding and strategic support directly, including implementing and enforcing “uncompressing controls” on EMOI’s oversight of the security. These military forces allegedly tortured and killed Indonesian residents. Eleven Indonesians (plaintiffs) filed several tort claims against Exxon and EMOI in connection with these alleged incidents. Exxon moved for summary judgment on the ground that it was merely the parent company and thus not liable for the alleged atrocities.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Oberdorfer, J.)

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