2nd Circuit Largely Upholds Civil Contempt Findings in Donziger RICO Case, But Reverses One
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has handed down a strongly worded majority opinion in the fierce civil court legal fight between Steven Donziger and oil company Chevron, upholding nearly all of a trial judge’s six civil contempt-of-court findings against Donziger but throwing out one of them because the judge had “introduced considerable ambiguity” into an injunction order.
The results of the mixed decision include the appellate court tossing out a more than $650,000 civil contempt-based sanction that had been levied against the embattled lawyer. In addition, the federal trial court in his case, on remand, will have to issue a new attorney fee award to Chevron. The company had been given $3.4 million in fees based on its successful pursuit of the six civil contempt charges. It appears the bulk of the award will stay in place, but some amount must be subtracted now that one contempt count has been reversed.
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