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The federal class action lawsuit - a short update as of May 1, 2000

This is a short update of the status of the federal class action lawsuit against Union Carbide and Warren Anderson, particularly the most recent brief filed by counsel for plaintiffs. The briefing of Carbide's "Motion to Dismiss The Amended Complaint, Deny Class Certification and/or For Summary Judgment" is now complete and has been filed with the court. Subsequently, Carbide's counsel - which  had accepted service of summons and complaint for Anderson - filed a separate motion on behalf of Warren Anderson to "Dismiss the Amended Complaint, Deny Class Certification and/or For Summary Judgment" which consisted of all of 5 pages. In response, plaintiffs' counsel submitted the following:

1. Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law In Opposition To Warren Anderson's Motion To Dismiss (25 pages) reiterating and incorporating by reference all of our arguments against Carbide plus articulating the basis for Anderson's criminal liability as well as civil liability based on his complicity in Union Carbide's unlawful conduct.

2. An expert affidavit from Professor Iqbal Ishar, Dean of New York University Law School's prestigious Global Law program, and an expert in Comparative Constitutional Law who has taught the Law of Torts for 9 years at the University of Delhi, essentially affirming that he had reviewed the affidavit of former Chief Justice Bhagwati on issues of Indian law such as the Bhopal Act, settlement, etc. and was prepared to swear, under penalty of perjury, that the contents of Justice Bhagwati's affidavit were true and correct as to the matters asserted therein.

3. An expert affidavit from Professor Naomi Roht-Arriaza, an expert in international human rights law and international environmental law as well as an associate chairman of the American Society of International Law, affirming under penalty of perjury that Union Carbide's and Warren Anderson's conduct amounts to a violation of the plaintiffs' internationally guaranteed rights to life and personal security and, therefore, constitute breaches of customary international law actionable under the Alien Tort Claims Act. In addition to being a professor and distinguished scholar in the field of international law, she is also a practicing lawyer who represents the 40,000 or so victims, "disappeared" individuals and political prisoners of Chile who were tortured, murdered and abused during Pinochet's regime in that country.

4. An expert supplemental affidavit from Professor Jon M. Van Dyke, who is an adviser to Micronesian countries on international human rights law and a scholar who has published over 80 articles and 5 books on the subject of public international law, affirming under penalty of perjury that plaintiffs' have adequately stated an actionable claim for violation of customary international law, viz. the rights to life and security of the person, and that Defendants' conduct constitutes a crime under international law.

5. A "Declaration of Experts On Sources of Customary International Law" affirming that the sources and authorities cited by Plaintiffs in support of their legal arguments are, in fact, customary international law and/or evidence of customary international law. The Declaration was signed by the following scholars and experts in the field of international law:

Prof. William Aceves
Prof. Paul Hoffman
Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza
Prof. Jon M. Van Dyke
Prof. Ved P. Nanda
Prof. Dinah L. Shelton

5. An expert affidavit of Professor Richard Wilson, Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law at American University and counsel to, among others, Mumia Abu Jamaal, the indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Mexico as well as the Zapatistas, affirming that he has reviewed the Declaration and agrees that the contents thereof are true and correct to the best of his knowledge and citing additional authorities in support thereof.

6. An expert affidavit by Professor Chaloka Beyani, a Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Lecturer at Oxford University (Law), affirming under penalty of perjury that the plaintiffs have stated a claim for violation of customary international law and that Union Carbide and Anderson's conduct amounted to a breach of their rights to life and personal security as well as a breach of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

7. Newspaper articles evidencing comments from Anderson that strongly indicate his involvement in the design, operation and maintenance of the UCIL plant in Bhopal.

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