San Diego Professor Argues Against Corporate Human Rights Abuse

usd professor custin

Just because a person means business, they shouldn’t be expected to fight on the behalf of corporations.

At the University of San Diego School of Business Administration, one professor is making the case that the courts should hold corporations accountable. Professor Richard Custin‘s new scholarly article, “Legal Remedies For Corporate Abuses of Human Rights (Jesner v. Arab Bank),” argues for the use of the Alien Tort Act and Supreme Court to take corporations to court. He doesn’t want to see corporations walking away from poor business transactions without seeing consequences. What better place than U.S. courts? This is true even if a corporation harms a foreign person not in the United States.

The professor writes:

“Congress could amend the [Alien Tort Act] to specifically include corporations. We expect that the Supreme Court in Jesner will finally answer the question of whether corporations are liable under the ATS. A finding by the Supreme Court that corporations are liable under the ATS will serve to hold financial institutions accountable for failing to detect unethical financial transactions. Eleanor Roosevelt’s wisdom that “we will be the sufferers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting ourselves to correct them” is as applicable today as it was for the “greatest generation” in World War II.”

In a broader sense, harsher punishment towards corporate abuse has been a particularly difficult subject for decades, especially since the Great Recession. The Week‘s Ryan Cooper outlined much of problem in the financial industry and why repeated efforts to punish companies has fallen short.

Custin is a Clinical Professor of Business Law and Ethics at the school. He is also an attorney and owns a law office. This expertise makes business law, mediation, health law, medical malpractice, and legal research his areas of expertise. Perhaps he can now add “human rights” to his resume.

The article was published in this year’s Kroc Peace Magazine. The SCOTUSblog also mentioned the piece in its Oct. 3 round-up.


About the Author

Lissett Fun

Lissett Fun is a New York-based reporter covering business and the environment.

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