A Boeing Co subsidiary prevailed on Wednesday against a lawsuit alleging its planes were used by the CIA to illegally transport prisoners to secret facilities overseas, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A group of plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union claimed they were tortured in the foreign prisons. An earlier three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit had allowed the lawsuit, but the fuller court voted 6-5 on Wednesday to dismiss the case.
"We ... acknowledge that this case presents a painful conflict between human rights and national security," 9th Circuit Judge Raymond Fisher wrote.
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc, finding that rules protecting state secrets made it impossible for the litigation to proceed. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case on behalf of Jeppesen.
Spokesmen for Boeing and the Justice Department did not have an immediate comment. ACLU staff attorney Ben Wizner said the organization "absolutely" intends to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the case.
"If the U.S. does not provide for judicial remedies, it is all the more likely that foreign judges and prosecutors will reopen and reinvigorate their investigations into the crimes alleged in this case," he said.
The case in the 9th Circuit is Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, 08-15693.