Lago Agrio: The Next Round of Documents from the Office of the Legal Adviser

I have some more FOIA documents from the Office of the Legal Adviser to report. There are no blockbusters in the new documents. Chevron continues to try to keep the State Department apprised of developments in the case, though the level of interest among the State Department officials involved in the email chains is difficult to gauge. (I’m not saying the Department was uninterested—indeed, the Ecuador Desk Officer was requesting updates from Chevron). Perhaps the most interesting of the new documents is a list Chevron provided to the Department of the countries where the plaintiffs might seek to execute the Ecuadoran judgment. The list is similar to the list of countries discussed in the Invictus memorandum. It evidently provoked some discussion within the Department, but unfortunately the Department has redacted the intra-department comments.

In other FOIA news, I have been trying to obtain from the Department the identity of a third party to which the Department has referred documents for comment before producing them to me. It’s proper for the Department to seek the consent of a document submitter that has provided “business information” to the Department before producing that information pursuant to FOIA, but I know of no reason why the identity of the submitter should not be disclosed, so I am hopeful that I will have more details on this aspect of the case for you in the near future.

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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