Savang et al v. Lao People's Democratic Republic et al
ORDER signed by District Judge Vince Chhabria on 7/31/17 ORDERING the complaint is DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Any amended complaint is due within 14 days of the filing of this Order. In recognition of the suggestion of immunity filed by the United States, however, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice as against defendants Bounnhang Vorachith and Thongloun Sisoulith. See Hmong I v. Lao People's Democ. Repub., No. 15-cv- 02349, 2016 WL 2901562, at *8-10 (E.D. Cal. May 17, 2016). (Becknal, R)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAURYVONG SAVANG, et al.,
Case No. 16-cv-02037-VC
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION
LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC, et al.,
Having reviewed the pending motions and supplemental briefs, the Court will dismiss the
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Under Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., this Court lacks jurisdiction over this Alien
Tort Statute case because all the relevant conduct is alleged to have taken place in Laos. 133 S.
Ct. 1659, 1669 (2013). The plaintiffs' allegations regarding United States involvement in the
Laotian civil war – including that the United States sent weapons and money, created a "Secret
Army" and directed its activities from Virginia, brought members of the Royal Lao military to
Texas for training, and negotiated treaties – are not sufficient to show that the claims "touch and
concern" the United States, because these connections lack a nexus with the tortious conduct
allegedly committed by the defendants. See Doe I v. Cisco Sys., Inc., 66 F. Supp. 3d 1239, 124647 (N.D. Cal. 2014). The plaintiffs allege that the Lao People's Democratic Republic and
members of the government subjected the plaintiffs and their family members to torture and
deprived them of their homes and property. But the defendants did not, at least according to the
allegations and evidence presented in this case, plan and commit any of these actions from within
or with the help of the United States, or do so with the purpose of affecting the United States.
Cf. Licci by Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL, 834 F.3d 201, 215-17 (2d Cir. 2016).
Therefore, the plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged (much less demonstrated with evidence)
that their claims touch and concern the United States "with sufficient force to displace the
presumption against extraterritorial application." Kiobel, 133 S. Ct. at 1669.
Although it appears highly unlikely that the plaintiffs will be able to overcome the
presumption against extraterritoriality, in an abundance of caution dismissal of the complaint is
with leave to amend. Any amended complaint is due within 14 days of the filing of this Order.
In recognition of the suggestion of immunity filed by the United States, however, the complaint
is dismissed with prejudice as against defendants Bounnhang Vorachith and Thongloun
Sisoulith. See Hmong I v. Lao People's Democ. Repub., No. 15-cv-02349, 2016 WL 2901562, at
*8-10 (E.D. Cal. May 17, 2016).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: July 31, 2017
United States District Judge
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