Lago Agrio: Amazonia Contempt Claim Denied As Moot
Posted on October 15, 2018
Last month I wrote about “The Mystery of Amazonia.” As part of the New York judgment against him, Steven Donziger was supposed to convey his interest in Amazonia Recovery Ltd., the Gibraltar firm set up to receive the proceeds of the Lago Agrio judgment, to Chevron. After much Sturm und Drang, Donziger executed the required documents, but he attached an addendum to the document that seemed to call into question the validity of the transfer. So Chevron sought to hold him in contempt of court. Donziger has now reexecuted the document without the addendum. Although he sent the document to Chevron with a letter that makes essentially the same points as the addendum, Judge Kaplan has now held that the motion for contempt is moot.
This seems clearly right, as the purpose of civil contempt is to compel obedience to the court’s orders. I’m not sure what the point of Donziger’s letter was—whether it was just a restatement of views he had already expressed or whether he intends it to have some more significant role—but in any event, the execution, acknowledgment, and delivery of the unadorned transfer document was enough to satisfy the judge. And so the Mystery of Amazonia has now been laid to rest.