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BUSINESS: U.S. judge tosses out apartheid lawsuits seeking billions from U.S. companies

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posted on Nov, 30 2004 @ 12:38 AM
Stating that the claims bordered on frivolous, a federal judge threw out lawsuits that were seeking damages against U.S. companies that did business with South Africa during apartheid. The suits that totaled over 400 billion dollars sought damages from victims of the system. While calling the apartheid government “repugnant” and calling into question the ethics and morality of doing business with the regime, U.S. District Judge John Sprizzo, said there was little or no evidence that the companies were responsible for the activities in South Africa.< br /> NEW YORK (AP) - Lawsuits seeking more than $400 billion in damages from U.S. corporations for victims of apartheid in South Africa were tossed out Monday by a federal judge who said the claims bordered on the frivolous.

U.S. District Judge John Sprizzo called the actions of the apartheid regime "repugnant" and said decisions by the corporations to do business with the regime may have been "morally suspect or embarrassing."

But he said there was no meaningful assertion by the plaintiffs that actions by U.S. corporations directly caused the alleged murders, torture, crimes against humanity and other heinous acts in South Africa from 1948 until a decade ago.

The ruling stemmed from lawsuits filed in federal courts against defendants that included some of the largest corporations in the United States.

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At what point do we take a look at the frivolous lawsuits and start imposing sanctions on them. This was simply a pie in the sky attempt by lawyers to make money. The judge acted correctly in throwing out the lawsuits. The lawyers who brought these cases and tied up the court systems for a untold amount of time should be held accountable for their actions and be made to pay the court costs and the costs of the companies that had to defend themselves against these baseless charges. No doubt the South African regime was indeed repugnant, but this count seems bent of destroying our corporations ability to compete on the world stage from within.

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