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Judge Kaplan, Chevron, Steven Donziger, Ecuador

Randy Mastro and his fellow Gibson Dunn attorneys have put together an excellent summary of all the games, maneuvers and machinations that U.S. trial lawyer Steven Donziger has practiced in an effort to avoid depositions by Chevron.

Donziger is the New York attorney who has directed the PR/advocacy/calumny campaign against Chevron to support the $113 billion contingency-fee suit for environmental damage in Ecuador by the company's predecessor, Texaco. Last week, the Gibson Dunn attorneys filed a memorandum of law in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to support Chevron's motion to compel Donziger to produce documents.

After a variety of delaying tactics and rejected motions to the Second Circuit, Donziger submitted a privilege log more than 2,000 pages long to claim he did not have to produce 8,562 documents. Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered Donziger to appear in court today with Chevron's requested documents, adding a hand-written note: ""ORDERED that this order shall not be constructed to imply that Donziger is not already in violation of a previous order that required the production forthwith of all documents responsive to the subpoena."

The Chevron memo is a good read, and we have a fuller post on the latest judicial proceedings in the litigation at Shopfloor.org. Additional news coverage:

A recent Washington Times editorial, "Assassination threat by Chevron accusers," notes Judge Kaplan's newfound prominence as the judge who presided over the terrorism trial that ended in the acquittal of former Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani on 284 of 285 counts. The Times observes: "In the Chevron case, however, he's all no-nonsense. 'The evidence of irregularities is powerful,' he wrote. This man has presided over Mafia trials and knows shady tactics when he sees them."

Note (12:37 p.m.): We have corrected our original misspelling of Mastro's name.

UPDATE (4:49 p.m.): New twist: Last week Patton Boggs represented the Ecuadorian plaintiffs in the Second Circuit and is now complaining that Chevron is trying to discourage the law firm from further involvement in the suit. How? By a spokesman's comment in a news story and a legal filing claiming a conflict of interest. How intimidating!

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.