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Torts Keyed to Henderson
Sarei v. Rio Tinto, PLC
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Rio Tinto, PLC (Defendant), an international mining company headquartered in London, England, opened a mine in the village of Panguna on Bougainville, an island province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), with the assistance of the PNG government in 1972. As a result of the mining activities, waste byproducts polluted the island’s waterways and atmosphere and threatened the health of its residents. In 1988, residents attempted to force the mine’s closure by engaging in acts of sabotage. Defendant asked the PNG government to curb the uprising and reopen the mine. In the process of doing so, the PNG army attacked and killed numerous residents which led to 10 years of civil war. During the 10 years, PNG committed many human rights abuses at the behest of Defendant. Thousands of Bougainville’s residents died and those who survived suffered serious health problems. Sarei and many other Bougainville citizens (Plaintiffs) filed suit in federal district court against Defendant for violations of the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (ATCA), and sought compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages as well as injunctive relief. The court sought guidance from the U.S. Department of State which subsequently issued a statement of interest (SOI) which noted that “continued adjudication of the claims…would risk a potentially serious adverse impact on the peace process, and…on the conduct of our foreign relations.” The district court then dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint as presenting nonjusticiable political questions. Plaintiffs appealed.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.