Colombians living along the rail line Drummond uses to transport its coal claim a right-wing paramilitary group, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, tortured and killed members of the community in an effort to root out left-wing rebels who had blown up trains and track to halt Drummond’s shipments.
The AUC was named a terrorist organization by the US in 2001.
The residents launched the lawsuit against the company in 2009 and have been represented by human rights lawyer Terry Collingsworth.
US District Judge David Proctor granted Drummond’s request to throw out the case on July 25, saying that the law on which the plaintiffs based the suit, the Alien Tort Statute, was no longer suitable, according to aBloomberg report.
Proctor said the plaintiffs failed to provide enough evidence that the actions in Colombia were orchestrated in the US, a requirement of the statute.
The ruling marks Collingworth’s third loss to the company, after two suits alleging the organized murder of union leaders representing workers at Drummond’s Colombian mines were dismissed.
Collingsworth told Bloomberg he planned to appeal Proctor’s decision.
“He made no comment on whether Drummond paid terrorists to kill people,” Collingsworth said in an interview.
“It is against US law to pay a foreign terrorist organization.”
The case is Balcero Giraldo v Drummond Co., 2:09-cv-1041, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham).