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Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
614 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2010)


Facts

Five foreign nationals (plaintiffs) alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other government agencies, operated an extraordinary rendition program to collect intelligence by detaining foreign nationals thought to be involved in terrorist activities and secretly transporting them to foreign countries for detention and interrogation. The foreign nationals alleged that they themselves were subject to the program and that U.S. officials used interrogation methods that were prohibited by law in the program’s administration. The plaintiffs claimed that Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. (Jeppesen) (defendant), a U.S. corporation, provided flight planning and support services on transfer flights to locations where they were detained and allegedly tortured, and did so knowing that they were aiding in a program that employed illegal tactics. The foreign nationals brought suit against Jeppesen under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 350, based on claims of forced disappearance; torture; and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The U.S. government, through the then-director of the CIA, moved to intervene and dismiss based on the state secrets doctrine. The district court granted both motions and entered judgment in favor of Jeppeson. The foreign nationals appealed, and while the appeal was pending, the executive branch amended the policies for invoking the state secrets privilege. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit then reversed the district court’s judgment and remanded.

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Holding and Reasoning (Fisher, J.)

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Dissent (Hawkins, J.)

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