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Rebuffed By Kaplan, Donziger Atty Calls Out Judges’ ‘Opacity’ – Law360

Date: Nov 23, 2020

Chevron foe Steven Donziger’s new lawyer questioned Monday who’s in charge of given issues relating to Donziger’s criminal contempt case, telling U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the judge in Donziger’s civil case, that the situation is beset by “utter opacity.”

Lawyer Ron Kuby, who’s not involved in the civil case, made a second attempt to persuade Judge Kaplan that authority is hopelessly muddied in the criminal case over Donziger’s alleged flouting of Judge Kaplan’s court orders in the civil case, which was brought by Chevron over a $9 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador. The criminal case is helmed by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, who was tapped by Judge Kaplan.

A response to Kuby from Judge Kaplan on Friday hadn’t engaged with Kuby’s letter as intended, focusing instead on procedural points, so Kuby regrouped Monday, saying the lack of procedural clarity points up questions about who’s in charge of what.

“From your order, it appears that I cannot get the relief that I am seeking in the case where I am counsel, without filing an appearance in a case where I am not counsel,” Kuby said. “This is one of the problems trying to defend a case with two judges, whose division of authority takes place entirely between them, in utter opacity.”

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