Lago Agrio: Update
Posted on March 21, 2014
I have a few developments to report in the Lago Agrio case, most of which you probably have already seen in the news. First, both the Lago Agrio plaintiffs and Donziger have appealed to the Second Circuit. Donziger, by the way, has just published a roadmap to the appellate issues we are likely to see briefed in the Second Circuit.
Second, Donziger and the LAPs have asked Judge Kaplan to stay his injunction pending appeal. The key to these motions usually is the balance of harms, and it seems to me that Donziger (by which I mean—or at least I guess—Deepak Gupta) has made pretty good arguments on the harms, but we’ll have to see. Judge Kaplan doesn’t seem too inclined to see a pressing need for a stay—he has denied Donziger’s request for expedited hearing and decision, though it seems he’s right to say that Donziger hasn’t followed the usual procedure one would follow to seek an expedited motion schedule.
Third, check out Chevron’s attorneys’ fee application! This has already been widely reported. The big picture: Chevron seeks more than $32 million in fees, which accounts for 36,837 hours of time of Gibson Dunn lawyers and a whopping 139,747 hours of time of lawyers at Huron Consulting Group and Merrill Communications LLC. Any award of damages is bound to be purely notional, as it appears there’s no way that Donziger could pay even a small fraction.
Last, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar has denied a motion by one of the LAPs’ former litigation funders, James Russell DeLeon, and a firm he was alleged to control, Torvia Ltd., to dismiss Chevron’s claim of conspiracy. I don’t deal with it in any detail because it was just a decision on a motion to dismiss, and thus did not contain any findings of fact or really firm conclusions.