One might assume that after 21 years of litigation, all the sordid details surrounding the epic Chevron oil pollution case had been made public. Not so. A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., ruled unanimously on Tuesday that plaintiffs’ lawyers accused of fraud against the oil company must reveal the contents of documents that had been confidential and could hold new information about wrongdoing. Read more>>
Chevron’s suit against the funder—filed in Gibraltar last June, but not previously reported—alleges that Woodsford conspired with the leaders of the Ecuadorian litigation to advance “a dishonest and fraudulent prosecution of a claim” against the company. Read more>>
Paul Barrett’s excellent new book, “Law of the Jungle,” has been attacked in Outside magazine as too one-sided. I see it as not quite one-sided enough.
A New York state judge has ruled that Ecuador’s courts are the proper venue for a suit against class action attorney Steven Donziger brought by a group of indigenous Ecuadorians seeking a share of the $18.2 billion pollution-related judgment Donziger helped secure against Chevron Corp., according to an order posted Friday. Read more>>
Obtaining full disclosure of incriminating documents requires patience to build a body of evidence demonstrating probable cause that the crime-fraud exception applies. Read more >>
In March, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Donziger “formulated and conducted a scheme to victimize a U.S. company through a pattern of racketeering” in the case, including bribing the Ecuadorean judge. Read more >>
“What has blatantly occurred in this matter would in fact be considered fraud by any court,” observed one magistrate judge. The “Crude” outtakes, remarked another, “sent shockwaves through the nation’s legal communities, primarily because the footage shows, with unflattering frankness, inappropriate, unethical and perhaps illegal conduct.” Read more >>
Section 1782 can be a powerful discovery tool, and litigants would be wise to conduct themselves with the same caution employed in U.S. proceedings.
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Newly filed appeals in the Chevron-Ecuador oil pollution case have set the stage for a potentially important court decision on the reach of the federal anti-racketeering statute as a corporate tool for combating liability lawsuits.
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Burford Capital, a litigation-finance firm, was just getting aloft in 2010 when it invested $4 million in a controversial pollution lawsuit against Chevron (CVX) in Ecuador. The transaction went sour very quickly.
By Stephen W. Green, Chevron Re: May 28 commentary, “Chevron board should face critics, not hide in Midland.” Ecuadorian Ambassador …
The judgment demonstrated perhaps the high-water point for trial lawyer shakedowns against U.S. businesses, as Kaplan demolished the two-decade litigatory attack. From the damning, nearly 500-page ruling: Read more >>