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Citing Supreme Court case, US appeals court rejects apartheid claims against Ford, IBM

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NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has rejected lawsuits accusing IBM Corp. and Ford Motor Corp. of supporting apartheid in South Africa decades ago through their business deals.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Monday against lawsuits brought 13 years ago against the Armonk, New York-based IBM and Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford. The lawsuits had accused the companies of helping the South African government carry out race-based injustices by selling specially designed computers and cars.

The appeals court cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting the legal reach of a 1789 law. A lower-court judge had tossed the lawsuits, saying they failed to allege sufficient U.S.-based actions by IBM or Ford.

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