Lago Agrio: Judge Kaplan Mostly Denies The Lago Agrio Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

On November 7 I noted that the Ecuadoran plaintiffs had filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings on Chevron’s claims for fraud. Chevron’s claim is that the Ecuadoran plaintiffs deceived the Ecuadoran court, or in the alternative that the Ecuadoran plaintiffs participated in a deception perpetrated by the Ecuadoran court, and that the deception resulted in the Lago Agrio judgment. The Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ basic argument was that there can be no fraud without reliance and that Chevron did not allege that it had relied on the fraud. Chevron argued that under New York law, a fraud claim does not require first-party reliance but can rest on third-party reliance.

Donziger unsuccessfully made the same argument the Ecuadoran plaintiffs make, and the Ecuadorans proved to be just as unsuccessful as Donziger was. Judge Kaplan, in a memorandum endorsement, denied the motion for the same reason he denied Donziger’s motion earlier. New York decisions on this point may be somewhat ridiculous on this point, but Judge Kaplan asserted he was bound by them.

For reasons that are unclear to me, the Ecuadoran plaintiffs have sought to certify the judge’s decision for an interlocutory appeal. I will go out on a limb and predict that the Ecuadorans will not obtain an interlocutory hearing, which is an extraordinary and disfavored procedure.

In other Lago Agrio news, Donziger has finally responded to Chevron’s statement of facts on its claim of fraud. This is a lengthy document that probably deserves a full post, but I wanted to bring it to light.

And in a surprise move, the Huaorani who have sued Donziger have moved for leave to intervene in the RICO case. The purpose of the proposed intervention is to protect the Huaorani’s interest in the validity of the Ecuadoran judgment and to assert cross-claims against Donziger for a declaration, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, etc. I continue to be astonished that the Huaorani and Donziger were not able to resolve their dispute privately. Chevron must be delighted that the dissension among the various factions of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs.

5 responses to “Lago Agrio: Judge Kaplan Mostly Denies The Lago Agrio Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings”

  1. […] wrote a couple of days ago about the Huaorani motion for leave to intervene in Chevron’s RICO case against Donziger and […]

  2. […] The Huaorani have taken steps to protect their interest in the Lago Agrio judgment, and they sought to intervene as defendants in Judge Kaplan’s court for that purpose. They had also previously filed their […]

  3. […] motion for summary judgment—as well as the order of November 27, 2012, which I discussed in a post on December 5, 2012, and an order of February 20, 2013, which I don’t think I […]

  4. […] one is a count for fraud. This is yet another example of a fraud claim that lacks any allegation that the party making the claim relied on the supposed […]

  5. […] to me. I thought the claim against the LAPs was an affirmative claim for fraud, and when I’ve written about this before, it was through the lens of asking whether New York recognized a cause of action for fraud in the […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you for commenting! By submitting a comment, you agree that we can retain your name, your email address, your IP address, and the text of your comment, in order to publish your name and comment on Letters Blogatory, to allow our antispam software to operate, and to ensure compliance with our rules against impersonating other commenters.