ESCR Cases In Progress
The (Mis)Application of Discrimination Analysis in Social Rights Case
There was an important decision in Feb. 2009 from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, in Boulter v. Nova Scotia Power Incorporation, 2009 NSCA 17. The Court considered whether discrimination on the grounds of poverty is contrary to the right to equality under the Canadian Charter of Rights. The Court held that poverty is not a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Charter of Rights and it is therefore lawful to discriminate against low income earners. The decision was not only negative but also represents a misapplication of the discrimination analysis in social rights cases. An application to leave to the Supreme Court of Canada is being prepared now.
Transnational Litigation / Corporate Accountability
On April 8, 2009, Judge Shira Scheindlen of the 2nd Circuit, in Khulumani, et al v. Barclays, ruled against a motion to dismiss the claims brought against the defendants General Motors, Ford, Daimler and IBM. The lawsuits -- Ntsebeza, et al. v. Daimler AG, et al. and Khulumani, et al., v. Barclays National Bank LTD., et al. -- were filed on behalf of South Africans who allege that the named corporations aided and abetted South African forces in extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary denationalization, and the crime of apartheid. The claims were brought under the Alien Tort Statute. In her ruling, Judge Scheindlen held that the claims made against General Motors, Ford, and Daimler in the Ntsebeza case alleging the aiding and abetting of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, extrajudicial killing, and apartheid can continue. Judge Scheindlen also ruled that a claim against IBM alleging the aiding and abetting of arbitrary denationalization and apartheid could move forward. For all relevant court documents, go to: http://www.sdshh.com/Apartheid/index.html.
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