Supreme Court Notebook

High court won't hear Oneidas' land claim in NY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from the Oneida Indian Nation claiming that it was underpaid for over 250,000 acres in onetime tribal lands in upstate New York that changed hands more than 150 years ago.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that threw out the Oneidas' land claims.

The Oneidas say the state illegally purchased land in upstate New York in a series of transactions in the 18th and 19th centuries. They claim New York underpaid for the land in Madison and Oneida counties by about $500,000, a sum now worth $500 million with interest compounded.

The lawsuit was filed in 1974 by Oneidas in New York, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Court to hear bid to sue Shell for Nigerian abuses

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says it will use a dispute between Nigerian villagers and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to decide whether corporations may be held liable in U.S. courts for alleged human rights abuses overseas.

The justices said Monday they will review a federal appeals court ruling in favor of Shell. The case centers on the 222-year-old Alien Tort Statute that has been increasingly used in recent years to sue corporations for alleged abuses abroad.

The villagers argue Shell was complicit in torture and other crimes against humanity in the country's oil-rich Ogoni region in the Niger Delta.

A divided panel of federal appeals court judges in New York said the 18th century law may not be used against corporations. More recently, appellate judges in Washington said it could.

Published: Tue, Oct 18, 2011

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