In Doe v. Unocal Corp., several citizens of Myanmar alleged a California-based oil company, in cooperation with Myanmar’s ruling junta, used beatings, torture, rape, slavery, and murder to confiscate ancestral lands and force villagers to clear a path though mountain jungles for a gas pipeline jointly owned by Unocal and the junta. The plaintiffs lived in the jungles in tribal groups, spoke a local dialect known as Karen, and had an average third grade reading level. There was no treaty to obtain discovery, the ruling junta was hostile to the lawsuit, and attorneys were not permitted to enter the country.
In Occidental Petroleum Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization in Colombia, bombed pipelines owned by a California-based oil company on 285 separate occasions over a period of two years. The oil company’s insurer considered every bombing to be a separate incident giving rise to a separate one million dollar deductible. The oil company considered the bombings to be part of a single campaign of terror, giving rise to only one deductible. Key witnesses and evidence were located in Colombia and London. One witness in Colombia was a former FARC member who slept in a different house every night to avoid FARC assassins.
What power does the court have to manage litigation such as this? What procedures?