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Mujica v. AirScan Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 12, 2014

LUIS ALBERTO GALVIS MUJICA, on behalf of himself and as representative of the Estates of Tereza Mujica Hernan, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; MARIO GALVIS GELVEZ, on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Tereza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; JOHN MARIO GALVIS MUJICA, through his guardian ad litem and on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Tereza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
AIRSCAN INC., Defendant-Appellant, OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Defendant, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Movant. LUIS ALBERTO GALVIS MUJICA, on behalf of himself and as representative of the Estates of Tereza Mujica Hernan, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; MARIO GALVIS GELVEZ, on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Tereza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; JOHN MARIO GALVIS MUJICA, through his guardian ad litem and on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Tereza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant, AIRSCAN INC., Defendant, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Movant. LUIS ALBERTO GALVIS MUJICA, on behalf of himself and as representative of the Estates of Tereza Mujica Hernan, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; MARIO GALVIS GELVEZ, on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Tereza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra; JOHN MARIO GALVIS MUJICA, through his guardian ad litem and on behalf of himself, individually, and as heir of the decedents Terza Mujica Hernandez, Edilma Leal Pacheco and Johanny Hernandez Becerra, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION; AIRSCAN INC., Defendants-Appellees, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Movant

Argued and Submitted, March 5, 2014, Pasadena, California

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:03-cv-02860-GW-JWJ. D.C. No. 2:03-cv-02860-GW-JWJ. D.C. No. 2:03-cv-02860-GW-JWJ. George H. Wu, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Torture Victims Protection Act / Alien Tort Statute / Comity

The panel affirmed the dismissal, on remand, of an action brought under the Torture Victims Protection Act, the Alien Tort Statute, and California state law, alleging that two U.S.-headquartered corporations, Occidental Petroleum and AirScan, were complicit in the 1998 bombing of a Colombian village by members of the Colombian Air Force.

The panel held that plaintiffs' notice of appeal was not untimely because after the district court issued its ruling on limited remand, the case returned to the Court of Appeals, which continued to have jurisdiction under plaintiffs' original notice of appeal.

The panel held that pursuant to Mohamad v. Palestinian Auth., 132 S.Ct. 1702, 182 L.Ed.2d 720 (2012), plaintiffs lacked a viable claim under the TVPA because defendants were corporations rather than natural persons.

The panel held that pursuant to Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659, 185 L.Ed.2d 671 (2013), plaintiffs lacked a viable claim under the ATS because they did not rebut the presumption against extraterritorial application of the statute by alleging that defendants were U.S. corporations and that actions or decisions furthering the purported conspiracy between defendants and the Colombian Air Force took place in the United States. The panel declined to remand the case for amendment of the complaint in light of Kiobel.

Disagreeing with the district court, the panel held that plaintiffs' state-law claims must be dismissed on the ground of international comity. Interpreting Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Cal., 509 U.S. 764, 113 S.Ct. 2891, 125 L.Ed.2d 612 (1993), the panel held that adjudicatory comity, which involves discretionary deference in declining to exercise jurisdiction over a case properly adjudicated in a foreign state, does not require a " true conflict" between domestic and foreign law. The panel concluded that in light of a State Department Statement of Interest and an amicus brief filed by the United States, the United States' interest in having the case adjudicated exclusively in Colombia was strong. The panel held that because of the strength of the U.S. government's interest in respecting Colombia's judicial process, the weakness of California's interest in the case, the strength of Colombia's interests in serving as an exclusive forum, and the adequacy of the Colombian courts as an alternative forum, plaintiffs' state-law claims were nonjusticiable under the doctrine of international comity.

District Judge Zilly concurred in part and dissented in part. He concurred with the majority's conclusion that plaintiffs' claim under the TVPA was properly dismissed. Dissenting from the majority's holding that plaintiffs' lacked a viable claim under the ATS, he wrote that Kiobel did not require " conduct" that occurred within the United States, and that plaintiffs should be allowed to amend their complaint. Judge Zilly also dissented from the majority's holding that international comity barred adjudication of plaintiffs' state law claims.

Paul L. Hoffman (argued), Adrienne J. Quarry, and Victoria Don, Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow, Harris Hoffman & Harrison, LLP, Venice, California; Terry Collingsworth and Christian Levesque, Conrad & Scherer, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Daniel M. Kovalik, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Bridget Arimond, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University Law School, Chicago, Illinois, for Plaintiffs-Appellants-Cross-Appellees.

Daniel P. Collins (argued), Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Defendant-Appellee-Cross-Appellant Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

Thomas E. Fotopolous, and Sara M. Fotopolous, Fotopolous & Fotopolous, P.A., Titusville, Florida; Kenneth J. Berke, Berke & Kent LLP, Calabasas, California, for Defendant-Appellee-Cross-Appellant AirScan, Inc.

Marco B. Simons, Richard L. Herz, and Jonathan Kaufman, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae Earthrights International.

William J. Aceves, California Western School of Law, San Diego, California, for Amicus Curiae Constitutional and International Law Scholars.

Before: Jay S. Bybee and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges, and Thomas S. Zilly, Senior District Judge.[*]

OPINION

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BYBEE, Circuit Judge.

This suit arises out of the 1998 bombing of a Colombian village by members of the Colombian Air Force (CAF). Plaintiffs,[1] citizens and former residents of Colombia, brought suit in California against two U.S.-headquartered corporations, Occidental Petroleum and AirScan, for their alleged complicity in the bombing. In two opinions issued in 2005, the district court first refused to dismiss the case on grounds of forum non conveniens and international comity, Mujica v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 381 F.Supp.2d 1134 (C.D. Cal. 2005) (" Mujica I " ), but then granted Defendants' motion to dismiss all of the claims under the political question doctrine. Mujica v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 381 F.Supp.2d 1164 (C.D. Cal. 2005) (" Mujica II " ).

In a prior appeal, we declined to decide the issues presented and remanded the case to the district court for two purposes: first, " to consider whether a prudential exhaustion requirement applies in this case, and if so, whether that requirement bars any claims in this case," and, second, to " consider the effect, if any," of two Colombian court opinions related to the bombing. Mujica v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 564 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2009) (" Mujica III " ). On limited remand, the district court found that prudential exhaustion was not required. It also found that, if prudential exhaustion were required, Occidental had met its burden of pleading and proving the availability of local remedies. Mujica v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., Case No. CV-03-2860 (C.D. Cal., Mar. 8, 2010) (" Mujica IV " ). Plaintiffs and Defendants appealed and cross-appealed.

We hold that Plaintiffs lack a valid claim under either the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) or the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). We affirm the district court's judgment of dismissal with respect to Plaintiffs' state-law claims, but we do so on the ground of international comity. Although the district court rejected dismissal on that ground, we conclude that the district court abused its discretion by applying the incorrect legal standard in its comity analysis, specifically by concluding erroneously that a " true conflict" between domestic and foreign law is required for the application of international comity in all circumstances. Mujica I, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1155. Guided by the correct standard for the application of comity, and informed by the district court's findings of fact in Mujica IV regarding the adequacy of Colombia as an alternative forum, we conclude that the state law claims before us are not justiciable under the doctrine of international comity.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The 1998 Bombing

The district court described the facts of the underlying events as follows:

The instant case arises from a bombing that occurred in Santo Domingo, Colombia on December 13, 1998. In 1998, Plaintiffs lived in Santo Domingo. The Defendants, Occidental Petroleum Corp. (" Occidental" ) and AirScan, Inc., are both American companies; the former is located in Los Angeles, the latter in Florida. Defendant Occidental operates, as a joint venture with the Colombian government, an oil production facility

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and pipeline in the area of Santo Domingo.
Plaintiffs allege the following relevant facts. Since 1997, Defendant AirScan has provided security for Defendant Occidental's oil pipeline against attacks from left-wing insurgents. Prior to 1998, Defendants worked with the Colombian military, providing them with financial and other assistance, for the purpose of furthering Defendant Occidental's commercial interests. On several occasions during 1998, Defendant Occidental provided Defendant AirScan and the Colombian military with a room in its facilities to plan the Santo Domingo raid. Defendant AirScan and the Colombian Air Force (" CAF" ) carried out this raid for the purpose of providing security for Defendant Occidental (i.e., protecting its oil pipeline) and was not acting on behalf of the Colombian government. During the raid, three of Defendant AirScan's employees, along with a CAF liaison, piloted a plane with CAF markings and that was paid for by Defendant Occidental. From this airplane, Defendant AirScan provided aerial surveillance for the CAF, helping the CAF identify targets and choose places to deploy troops.
On December 13, 1998, residents of Santo Domingo saw low-flying CAF helicopters overhead and attempted to communicate that they were civilians by lying down on the road and covering their heads with white shirts. Soon thereafter, several witnesses saw an object (or several objects) drop from one of the CAF helicopters. One of the cluster bombs dropped by the CAF exploded directly in the town of Santo Domingo, destroying homes and killing seventeen civilians and wounding twenty-five others. Of the seventeen killed, six were children. During the attack, the CAF helicopters knowingly fired on civilians attempting to escape and on those who were trying to carry the injured to a medical facility. Soon thereafter, other CAF troops entered the town, blocked civilians from leaving, and ransacked their homes.
While the purpose of the Santo Domingo raid was to protect Defendant Occidental's pipeline from attack by left-wing insurgents, no insurgents were killed in the attack. These insurgents were located at least one to two kilometers outside of Santo Domingo. Defendants knew that the insurgents were not in Santo Domingo but carried out the attack nonetheless.

Mujica II, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1168-69 (internal citations omitted)).

B. Proceedings in Colombian Courts

The 1998 Santo Domingo bombing led to two legal actions in Colombia: a criminal action brought by the Colombian government against three CAF officers who were allegedly responsible for the bombing and a civil suit brought by Plaintiffs (and several other persons) against the government of Colombia.

1. Criminal Action

The Colombian Public Prosecutor's Office opened a preliminary investigation into the Santo Domingo bombing the day after it occurred, on December 14, 1998. On September 21, 2007, in In re Cesare Romero Pradilla, et al., the Twelfth Criminal Court of the Circuit of Bogota, Colombia convicted three CAF officers of manslaughter. On September 24, 2009, the same court affirmed the verdict on remand from a higher court, finding that all three defendants were guilty of manslaughter and related crimes. The court then sentenced two of them to no more than 380 months' imprisonment and one to no more than seventy-two months' imprisonment.

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The court also imposed fines on all three defendants.

2. Civil Action

On September 25, 2000, Plaintiffs (and others) filed a complaint against the Republic of Colombia, the Colombian Ministry of Defense, the Colombian Army, and the CAF, in regional court in Arauca, the region in Colombia where Santo Domingo is located. Plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful death and physical and psychological injuries to Plaintiffs and their relatives. On May 20, 2004, the Arauca court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiffs and awarded damages amounting to about $700,000. On December 13, 2007, in Mario Galvis Gelves, et al. v. The Nation, a Colombian appellate court approved a settlement between Plaintiffs and the Colombian government, holding that " [t]he liability of the defendant can be found, because the incident that gave rise to the settlement has been proven." On April 27, 2009, the Director of Legal Affairs of the National Defense Ministry directed the payment of 1,393,649,934.73 Colombian pesos (roughly $737,000) to the victims through their attorney. Nothing in the record suggests that the victims did not receive that settlement payment.

C. Proceedings Below

While the Colombian litigation was ongoing, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in United States district court on April 23, 2003. The complaint, as amended, brought claims for extrajudicial killing; torture; crimes against humanity; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and war crimes under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, and the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 Note. Plaintiffs also filed state law claims for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violations of California Business & Professional Code § 17200. See Mujica II, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1169, 1176.

In January 2004, the district court requested the views of the U.S. Department of State. Id. at 1169. In April 2004, the Department of State submitted a Statement of Interest (SOI) indicating that it did not have a position on the foreign policy implications of the action. Id. Eight months later, however, the Department of State submitted a second SOI indicating that it now opposed the litigation as adverse to U.S.-Colombian relations. The Department of State attached to the SOI two short dé marches[2] from the Government of Colombia opposing the litigation. Id. In June 28, 2005, the court issued two opinions responding to Occidental's motion to dismiss the suit.

1. Mujica I -- Forum Non Conveniens and International Comity

In Mujica I, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1134, the district court denied Occidental's motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens and international comity. Id. at 1163-64. With respect to forum non conveniens, the district court concluded that, despite a May 2004 civil verdict against the Republic of Colombia in favor of these plaintiffs in Colombian regional court, Colombia was an inadequate forum for Plaintiffs' claims. The court found that because the plaintiffs had received relief in Colombia, in a suit that did not include Defendants, " these Plaintiffs [would] not be able to recover against these Defendants." Id. at 1148. According to the district court, " Colombia would be an inadequate forum because

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Plaintiffs could not obtain a remedy against Defendant as they could in this Court." Id.

With regard to comity, which the court analyzed alongside the related doctrine of international abstention, the court held that it did not apply. It adopted Plaintiffs' argument that " at least in the Ninth Circuit, the application of international comity is generally limited to cases where there is a 'true conflict' between domestic and foreign law." Id. at 1155. Under that standard, the court explained that there was no " true conflict" between United States law and Colombian law: " Since the Court has not made any findings of liability or provided any remedies, there is no present conflict between the Court's proceeding with the instant case and any proceedings in Colombia." Id. at 1156. The district court acknowledged that there was " the possibility of an inconsistency between a future, potential judgment of this Court and a judgment of a Colombian court," id., but the court refused to dismiss the suit " without the knowledge that Plaintiffs have an alternative forum in which they are able to obtain a remedy." Id. at 1163-64.

2. Mujica II -- Political Question Doctrine

In a second opinion issued the same day, Mujica II, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1164, the district court considered whether to dismiss various claims under the TVPA, the ATS, the foreign affairs doctrine, the act of state doctrine, and the political question doctrine. Although the court worked its way through all of these statutes and doctrines and would have dismissed some but not all of Plaintiffs' claims, it ultimately concluded that the entire suit warranted dismissal under the political question doctrine. Id. at 1195; see also Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962).[3]

The district court held that two Baker factors supported dismissal of the suit--factor four, " impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution [of the issue] without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government," and factor five, the " unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made." Baker, 369 U.S. at 217. In reaching that conclusion, the court " focus[ed] on the Supplemental Statement of Interest," Mujica II, 381 F.Supp.2d at 1191, and found that its assertion that U.S. foreign policy " would be negatively impacted by proceeding with the instant case" supported a finding that " proceeding with the litigation would indicate a 'lack of respect' for the Executive's preferred approach of handling the Santo Domingo bombing and relations with Colombia in general." Id. at 1194. In a footnote, the court wrote that " [f]or similar reasons, the fifth Baker factor, adherence to a policy decision, would also render the instant case non-justiciable." Id. at 1194 n.25.

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3. Mujica III -- Limited Remand

Plaintiffs appealed the district court's order granting Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion and " further appeal[ed] any and all adverse rulings on issues in the Court's second order entered on June 29, 2005, . . . [and] further appeal[ed] any and all prior rulings adverse to Plaintiffs." On July 27, 2005, Occidental filed a " notice of conditional cross-appeal," appealing the district court's denial of Defendants' motion to dismiss the action on forum non conveniens and international comity grounds, as well as any adverse judgment in the court's ruling granting Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion. AirScan filed a nearly verbatim cross-appeal the next day.

In March 2006, during the pendency of the appeal, the United States filed an amicus brief on behalf of Defendants urging affirmance " [b]ecause adjudication of this case would adversely affect the United States' foreign policy interests." And while it agreed with the ultimate disposition of the case on political question and preemption grounds, it also believed " that dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims is most appropriate as a matter of international comity."

In May 2009, we remanded the case to the district court in an order that reads, in its entirety, as follows:

In light of the intervening authority of Sarei v. Rio Tinto, 550 F.3d 822 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc) [" Sarei II " ], this case is remanded to the district court to consider whether a prudential exhaustion requirement applies in this case, and if so, whether that requirement bars any claims in this case. On remand, the district court should also consider the effect, if any, of the decision of the Council of State of the Republic of Colombia in Mario Galvis Gelves, et al. v. The Nation, slip op. (Council of State, Rep. of Colombia, Ad. Law Div., Sec. 3, Dec. 13, 2007) and the decision of the Court No. 12 for Criminal Matters of the Circuit of Bogot[a] of the Republic of Colombia in In re Cesare Romero Pradilla, et al., slip op. (Sept. 21, 2007).

Mujica III, 564 F.3d at 1190.

4. Mujica IV -- Prudential Exhaustion and the Colombian Cases

By the time we heard the appeal in Mujica III, the original district court judge, Judge William J. Rea, had passed away. Accordingly, on remand, the case was assigned to Judge George H. Wu, who, in accordance with our order, issued a " Ruling on Limited Remand as to the Prudential Exhaustion Issue."

In response to our first question, the district court held that " there is a sufficiently strong nexus between the claims asserted in this lawsuit and the United States that local exhaustion should not be required." The court found that, " even if the nexus [to the United States] were held to be weak, . . . Occidental ha[d] not shown that the claims in this case do not implicate matters of universal concern," such as " war crimes and indiscriminate violent assaults on people at large." Thus, " Occidental ha[d] not shown that those claims against Defendants in this case [were] likely to be subject to an exhaustion requirement."

The court then addressed the second question we had posed on remand: the effect of the successful civil and criminal litigation brought in Colombia. Judge Wu came to a different conclusion from Judge Rea. Judge Wu held that remedies were available in Colombia, whether their availability was " assessed as of now or as of 2003 when the case was filed" and that, despite Judge Rea's contrary conclusion, Occidental " seem[ed] to have met its initial burden of showing the availability of local remedies." The court noted that Dr.

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Fernando Hinestrosa, Occidental's Colombian law expert, " stated that Plaintiffs could bring a suit against Occidental today in Colombia, and could have brought one in September 2000, or any time in between. Occidental ha[d] consented to jurisdiction in Colombia, and the statute of limitations under Colombian law ha[d] not yet run." The district court also found Plaintiffs' arguments that it was unsafe for them to pursue the litigation in Colombia unavailing, because Occidental showed that Plaintiffs had pursued litigation in Colombia " for years" and had traveled there, even though they now live elsewhere. Furthermore, Plaintiffs had not shown that their physical presence in Colombia was required to pursue the litigation. Accordingly, " [i]f exhaustion were required, Occidental would probably prevail on its demonstration of the availability of local remedies and the lack of futility." The court concluded that prudential exhaustion was not required in the case, and if it were to impose such a requirement, " it would find that Defendant Occidental ha[d] met its burden of pleading and proving the availability of local remedies and Plaintiffs' failure to exhaust them."

On April 7, 2010, Defendants AirScan and Occidental filed essentially identical " Notice[s] of Conditional Appeal," which noted that " [b]y declining to impose an exhaustion requirement on limited remand, the district court's Order on Remand leaves unchanged the prior judgment of dismissal with prejudice in this case, and thereby effectively re-enters that judgment as of the date of entry of the Order on Remand." On April 19, 2010, Plaintiffs filed a " Notice of Cross-Appeal" challenging the district court's March 8, 2010 ruling.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is reviewed de novo. Stone v. Travelers Corp., 58 F.3d 434, 436-37 (9th Cir. 1995). In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the Complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Silvas v. E*Trade Mortg. Corp., 514 F.3d 1001, 1003 (9th Cir. 2008).

We review the district court's decision regarding international comity for abuse of discretion. See Allstate Life Ins. Co. v. Linter Grp. Ltd., 994 F.2d 996, 999 (2d Cir. 1993); Remington Rand Corp.-Del. v. Bus. Sys. Inc., 830 F.2d 1260, 1266 (3d Cir. 1987). We follow a two-part test to determine whether a district court abused its discretion. See United States v. Hinkson, 585 F.3d 1247, 1261 (9th Cir. 2009) (en banc). " [T]he first step of our abuse of discretion test is to determine de novo whether the trial court identified the correct legal rule to apply to the relief requested. If the trial court failed to do so, we must conclude it abused its discretion." Id. at 1261-62 (footnote omitted). If the district court identified the correct legal rule, we move on to the second step of the test and " determine whether the trial court's application of the correct legal standard was (1) 'illogical,' (2) 'implausible,' or (3) without 'support in inferences that may be drawn from the facts in the record.'" Id. at 1262 (quoting Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, North Carolina, 470 U.S. 564, 577, 105 S.Ct. 1504, 84 L.Ed.2d 518 (1985)).

III. APPELLATE JURISDICTION

Defendants question whether Plaintiffs' April 19, 2010, notice of appeal following the district court's decision on remand was timely and, accordingly, whether we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Defendants argue that the district court's

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March 8, 2010, ruling " triggered the 30-day clock for Plaintiffs to file their notice of appeal" under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a).[4] And since " the district court's ruling left intact a dismissal with prejudice, Defendants on April 7, 2010 timely filed conditional notices of appeal." They cite Abbs v. Sullivan, 963 F.2d 918 (7th Cir. 1992), which held that there is no appellate jurisdiction if a party without standing is the only party to file an appeal within thirty-days of the final judgment, even if the other party files a cross-appeal within fourteen days of the appeal by the party without standing. Id. at 925. Defendants also cite Stephanie-Cardona LLC v. Smith's Food & Drug Centers, Inc., 476 F.3d 701, 705 (9th Cir. 2007), in which we held that a " late notice of cross-appeal is not fatal because the court's jurisdiction over the cross-appeal derives from the initial notice of appeal." But if a court lacks jurisdiction over an appeal, " it necessarily lacks jurisdiction over the cross-appeal," and the cross-appeal must be dismissed. Id.

Defendants have misapprehended the limited nature of our original 2009 remand. In that order, we neither addressed any of the issues raised by Plaintiffs' appeal nor vacated the June 28, 2005, district court order dismissing the case. See Mujica III, 564 F.3d at 1192. Instead, we remanded the case for two specific purposes: for fact-finding on the applicability of the prudential exhaustion doctrine, see Sarei II, 550 F.3d at 822, and for consideration of the effect of the Colombian criminal and civil cases related to this litigation. Id. The district court understood our order as a limited remand. Its order is entitled " Ruling on Limited Remand as to the Prudential Exhaustion Issue." And the parties understood it to be limited as well. Defendants titled their brief " Opening Brief on Limited Remand from the Ninth Circuit," and Plaintiffs titled theirs " Plaintiffs' Response to Defendants' Opening Brief on Limited Remand from Ninth Circuit." The district court's 2010 ruling did not state it was reentering the 2005 judgment, and we did not disturb that judgment on remand. Accordingly, after the district court issued its limited ruling, the entire case returned to us. We continue to have jurisdiction under Plaintiffs' original notice of ...


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