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Donziger’s Contempt Trial Reset For Fall- Law360

Steven-Donzinger
The lawyer of Ecuadorean people affected by Texaco-Chevron --who have long sought compensation for pollution between the 1970s and early 1990s-- Steven Donziger, speaks during a press conference on March 19, 2014 in Quito. Earlier this month, a US judge upheld Chevron's allegations that an Ecuadoran court decision ordering it to pay $9.5 billion for oil pollution in the Amazon jungle was fraudulently obtained. Donziger announced they will appeal against this decision. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)

A New York federal judge on Monday set a fall trial date for the criminal contempt trial of environmental attorney Steven Donziger stemming from a years-long saga with Chevron Corp. over pollution in Ecuador.

During a teleconference, U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason a planned June trial could not go forward and scheduled the bench proceeding to begin on Sept. 9.

The judge agreed with Donziger’s assertion that a trial in June would be untenable in light of the risks of the COVID-19 outbreak would pose to participants’ health.

“I certainly take Mr. Donziger’s point that the current pandemic makes it impossible to hold any trial, jury or bench, in mid-June,” Judge Preska said.

The lengthy and unusual battle between Chevron and Donziger stems from his role in landing a $9.5 billion environmental judgment against the oil company in 2011 in Ecuador. The judgment stemmed from allegations that Chevron predecessor Texaco Inc. contaminated the Amazon rainforest, part of Donziger’s decades of work for tens of thousands of people in Ecuador who said they’d been hurt by environmental pollution caused by the company. 

To read the full article on Law360, click here.

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