The Year In Review 1: Top Posts On Letters Blogatory

Happy New Year! As I did last year, I’m providing a list of the top ten posts on Letters Blogatory, counted by unique pageviews on the Web (i.e., not including people who read the post via email subscription, or an RSS feed, or some other way). I’ve excluded index pages, for example, my page indexing all Lago Agrio posts, or my page indexing my FOIA posts, and of course excluding the home page. I think the lessons for me this year are to keep working to have excellent guest-posters, and to pray that the Lago Agrio case goes on forever.

  1. Pietro Franzina, The Recast of the Brussels I Regulation: Old and New Features of the European Regime on Jurisdiction and the Recognition of Judgments. Pietro’s post on the Brussels I recast was top of the charts for a second year in a row. I think this has proved to be one of the leading short pieces on the recast. Kudos to Pietro, and be sure to check out his blog, Aldricus, which was recently resurrected.
  2. Nathalie Cely, Let’s Focus On The Real Issues. Ambassador Cely responded in some detail to Judge Kaplan’s decision in the Lago Agrio RICO case. One of the things about Letters Blogatory that I’m most proud of is that it’s provided a forum for people in the know to air their views in a forum that is (I hope) serious and critical, but also respectful. The Ecuadoran government (via Ambassador Cely) and Chevron (via one of its advocates, Doug Cassel) have done this to good advantage, the Ecuadoran plaintiffs perhaps less so, but the invitation is always open!
  3. Deepak Gupta In The House. This was my post on Steven Donziger’s brief in the Second Circuit, written by Deepak Gupta, a terrific lawyer based in Washington. Gupta, along with Burt Neuborne on behalf of the Ecuadoran plaintiffs, have made very strong arguments in the Second Circuit—stronger, I think, than the arguments Donziger or the LAPs made to Judge Kaplan. At trial, there was some sense in which the dispute was not a fair fight, but that’s clearly not so anymore.
  4. Nathalie Cely, Are Chevron’s Hands Really Clean? A Reply To Doug Cassel. Ambassador Cely pushes back against Professor Cassel on the issue of Chevron’s supposed wrongdoing during the judicial inspection process in the Lago Agrio litigation. Ecuador has been more on the offense in the past year than previously, both here at Letters Blogatory and, more consequentially, in the BIT arbitration in the Hague.
  5. Update on the Hague Service Convention in Mexico. I’m not sure why this 2012 post on improvements in Mexico’s implementation of the Service Convention was at the top of the list. It may be that folks trying to serve process in Mexico are finding it a helpful reference.
  6. Noel Doran, The Pensive Quill and Anthony McIntyre. Just as Letters Blogatory has provided a forum for the government of Ecuador and Chevron advocates to exchange views, it’s provided a similar forum for the protagonists in a dispute that spun off from the Belfast Project case—one that, I’m sorry to say, Letters Blogatory had some roll in creating. As readers may recall, Belfast Project researcher Anthony McIntyre had been highly critical (that’s putting it nicely) of Irish Times reporter Allison Morris, who had interviewed Dolours Price in 2010. Morris claimed that McIntyre’s articles about her put her in danger, and she complained to the Irish journalists’ union, which suspended McIntyre. McIntyre appealed, and Morris didn’t attend the appeal. I asked her why, and she gave a reason that McIntyre claimed was a lie. And they were off to the races. In this post, Morris’s editor, Noel Doran, attacked McIntyre and his blog, The Pensive Quill, and McIntyre later responded.
  7. Doug Cassel, Was the Lago Agrio Judgment Ghostwritten? Chevron advocate Doug Cassel puts forward Chevron’s case on the ghostwriting of the Lago Agrio judgment and, in passing, on Ecuador’s judiciary. I respond in the comments.
  8. Lago Agrio: Chevron Settles With Patton Boggs. The settlement between Chevron and the LAPs’ former counsel, Patton Boggs, was probably inevitable as Patton Boggs sought to consummate its merger with Squire Sanders. But still, the legal ethics of the settlement are, to me at least, mind-boggling.
  9. Chris Neumeyer, US Court Approves International Service of Process by Facebook. This is Taiwan-based lawyer Chris Neumeyer’s 2013 take on FTC v. PCCare247, the case approving service of process by Facebook on an Indian defendant. I give a much more critical look at the case in another post, but Chris’s got more hits. I think it’s probably because he put “Facebook” in the title of the post. Seriously. There’s a lesson in that!
  10. A First Look at the Donziger Decision. This was my initial take on Judge Kaplan’s RICO decision. We will see, probably this year, how things pan out in the Second Circuit.

Thanks as always for reading—I hope to have lots of interesting new material for you in 2015.

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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