This case arises out of the institution of human chattel slavery as it existed in the North American colonies and the latter-formed United States of America. The allegations in Plaintiffs' First Amended and Consolidated Complaint (“FACC” or “Complaint”) retell the generally acknowledged horrors of the institution of slavery, and the malignant actions of the sovereigns, entities and individuals that supported that institution. Plaintiffs' Complaint asks the courts to reexamine a tragic period in our Nation's history and to hold various corporate defendants liable for the commercial activities of their alleged predecessors before, during and after the Civil War in America. Defendants acknowledge that slavery marked a deplorable period in our Nation's history. However, they assert that Plaintiffs' claims, which arise from that period, cannot be heard in 2004 in a court of law.