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The Plaintiff: Who Can Sue?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes more general issues common to litigation under all of the statutes. Nationality limitations defining who can sue are clearly set forth by the applicable statutes. Federal law defines "a national of the United States" as: "(A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States. None of the human rights statutes require that the plaintiff be physically present in the United States to file a lawsuit. A plaintiff who is the actual victim of a human rights violation can sue for the injuries caused by that violation. A class action may be particularly appropriate when human rights violations have impacted a finite number of people in a particular geographic area, but there are too many potential plaintiffs to litigate on behalf of them individually.

Keywords: class action; human rights violation; organizational plaintiffs; United States



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