World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Donziger, Ecuadorians File Motion to Stay Judge's Decision

Donziger, Ecuadorians File Emergency Motion to Stay Judge Kaplan’s RICO Decision

NEW YORK, Mar. 18 /CSRwire/ - Saying the decision in Chevron’s RICO case is without legal precedent, New York Attorney Steven Donziger and two Ecuadorian villagers today filed papers with Judge Lewis A. Kaplan seeking to stay his decision granting an injunction and other remedies to Chevron after it was hit with a $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador for deliberately dumping toxic waste into the rainforest.

The papers, filed by Donziger’s lead appellate attorney Deepak Gupta, argue that Judge Kaplan’s decision is highly likely to be thrown out on appeal and will cause “irreparable harm” if not stayed pending the appeals process, which can sometimes take two years or more.

The papers, which can be read here, argue that Judge Kaplan’s RICO decision “seeks to preemptively undermine the judicial decree of a foreign sovereign nation and, in so doing, to let Chevron Corporation off the hook for decades of deliberate pollution in the Amazon rainforest.” The brief adds: “Along the way, it sidesteps jurisdictional hurdles, runs afoul of fundamental norms of international comity, and contravenes multiple decisions of the Second Circuit arising out of this same long-running controversy.”

“It is unlikely to survive appeal. And there is no question,” the papers argue, “that it will cause irreparable harm to the defendants and others if it is allowed to go into effect before the Second Circuit has had an opportunity to review it.”

The filing for a stay is the first step to kicking off what Gupta hopes will be a searching appellate review process. “It is now time for the appellate court to weigh in on these critical legal issues, which affect the well-being of thousands of rainforest villagers suffering from the effects of Chevron’s pollution in the Amazon,” said Gupta.

“The more our legal team analyzes this 500-page decision, it becomes increasingly clear that it will not stand up on appeal,” said Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for Donziger.

For more detail on the problems with Judge Kaplan’s decision, see this background memo released on the day of his decision and this updated analysis released today.

Donziger has argued that Judge Kaplan lacked jurisdiction over him once Chevron dropped all money damages claims on the eve of trial, given that an injunction (as opposed to money) would not remedy an actual injury caused to Chevron; that Judge Kaplan’s decision violates previous orders from a federal appellate court barring him from ruling on the validity of the Ecuadorian judgment; that the decision violates international comity, in that it deems Ecuador’s entire judicial system unworthy of international respect; and that Donziger himself faces “irreparable harm” by being forced to turn over to Chevron shares in a company that was set up to administer recovery funds, thereby depriving him of his ability to earn a living.

Gupta suggested to Judge Kaplan that if he plans to deny the request for a stay, that he do so “promptly” so that a three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (which oversees Kaplan’s court) can take up the issue. The papers also ask Judge Kaplan to issue a “temporary administrative stay of the judgment” pending resolution by the Court of Appeals.

Judge Kaplan already has been reversed once in the case when he tried to issue an unprecedented injunction blocking the Ecuadorians from enforcing their judgment anywhere in the world. The latest motion argues that Judge Kaplan’s more recent injunction in practice does the same thing, even though it uses different language.

Donziger repeatedly has said he did not receive a fair trial in Judge Kaplan’s courtroom; his former counsel, the renowned trial lawyer John Keker, accused Judge Kaplan of letting the case “degenerate into a Dickensian farce”. For background on Judge Kaplan’s bias as explained in various legal petitions, see here, here, and here.

Today’s stay motion represents the first appearance in the case from John Campbell and Justin Marceau, two law professors at the University of Denver who are teaching a special course built around Donziger’s appeal. Nine students in the class are carrying out research assignments for the legal team.

Donziger said the filing of the papers is “an important first step” in having Judge Kaplan’s decision reviewed by new judges.

“It is our belief that Judge Kaplan’s decision is wrong on the law, wrong on the facts, and resulted from a skewed legal proceeding that violated the due process rights of the defendants,” said Donziger.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news