From the Lago Agrio Desk

There are two developments today in the Lago Agrio saga. You can find all Letters Blogatory coverage of the Lago Agrio case here.

First, Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ motion to recuse himself. The motion seemed fairly weak, given that to the extent the judge had formed a negative opinion of Donziger or the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, he had formed it in the course of the proceedings. The judge cited Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540 (1994), which in turn quoted Judge Jerome Frank:

Impartiality is not gullibility. Disinterestedness does not mean child-like innocence. If the judge did not form judgments of the actors in those court-house dramas called trials, he could never render decisions.

Second, according to the New York Law Journal, Chevron faced an uncomfortable hearing in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. The Lago Agrio plaintiffs were appealing Judge Kaplan’s preliminary injunction enjoining attempts to enforce the Ecuadoran judgment. According to the NYLJ:

Judge Pooler also pressed Mr. Mastro on his denigration of the Ecuadoran judicial system, especially given the origins of the litigation.

* * *

“You were the ones who wanted to try it in Ecuador,” Judge Pooler said. “You wanted to get the case out of the Southern District and into Ecuador.”

Judge Parker said he was sitting in White Plains as a district judge at the time and “I recall Texaco was in my court trying to get this case” to Ecuador.

Mr. Mastro said that “we did believe at the time” Ecuador was the better forum but “times have changed.”

“You think times have changed that much in Ecuador?” Judge Parker asked.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Mastro said, “The quality of justice in Ecuador is among the lowest in the world.”

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2d ed. 2016), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

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