Drummond Cleared in Alien Tort and TVPA Cases

The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, after reviewing Jane Doe, et al., versus Drummond Company Inc., Drummond Ltd., et al., in which the company and two of its executives had been accused of allegedly being involved in a conspiracy with paramilitary groups, dismissed the case after ruling it lacked merits. The lawsuit had originally been filed in 2009.

The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s factual findings that there is no evidence that Drummond Company Inc., Drummond Ltd or its executives were involved in the paying of the paramilitary group AUC.  Additionally the Court ruled that there is no evidence that Drummond executives “knew that noncombatants were being murdered along the rail lines,” or that the  “paramilitary group AUC was allegedly being paid by Drummond.”  Also, the district court found that the “Plaintiffs´ admissible evidence did not raise a genuine issue of material fact as to either of the individual defendants´ liability.” Accordingly, the Court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the executives.

The Court ruled that the evidentiary record “demonstrated an absence of evidence in support of Plaintiffs´ case” against the executives.  Specifically, there was no evidence that either executive “had any knowledge of an alleged corporate scheme to fund or otherwise support the AUC, much less that they had any part in such a scheme or control over those who allegedly did.”

The ruling further stated that “Plaintiffs have failed to adduce any evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact” as to the executives´ “liability for any alleged corporate scheme resulting in the killings of noncombatants along Defendants´ mining operation and rail lines by the AUC….” and “there is no factual basis to sustain liability for Plaintiffs´ TVPA [Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991] claims against the individual defendants.”

Drummond stated, “With the Company and its executives cleared of any wrong-doing, Drummond welcomes this ruling as a re-affirmation that we conduct business obeying the law. At no time have we been involved in illegal activities or in relationships with illegal groups. This case was brought about by ambitious lawyers seeking large windfall profits by creating false charges using paid witnesses.  Evidence has been uncovered that these witnesses and/or their families were given financial benefits by the lawyers.  JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED BY THE COURTS!  Now, these falsely accused executives can work without these false accusations hanging over their heads so that they and the Company can work to create a better and safer way of life for our workers and the communities in which we work.”