March 19, 2014

Yaiguaje continues; SCC considers leave to appeal application

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruleswatch @ 11:44 am

American lawyer, Steven Donzinger, the directing mind of international (American, Canadian, Chilean, Argentine) litigation looking to enforce a $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Oil, has now appealed against an American federal court judgment that enjoined enforcement of that judgment in the US and sought a stay against the first instance court order.

American observers are speculating how their federal court findings, including the conclusion that the Ecuadorian judgment was fraudulent, findings that Donzinger was responsible for the submission of false evidence, co-option of the Ecuadorian Court, judicial bribery and coercion, will affect further proceedings in Canada.

Chevron’s application for leave to appeal Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, 2013 ONCA 758 to the Supreme Court of Canada has been before a panel of the court comprised of Justices LeBel, Wagner and Karakatsanis since February 24. The Ontario court decision has allowed the plaintiff’s attempt to collect $18.9 billion from Canadian affilitiates of Chevron here to continue.

Donzinger’s commentary on the merits as part of his stay brief is aggressive, direct, and clear and leans entirely on the technical aspects of the US court’s jurisdiction and RICCO statute which had given rise to the 497 page adverse decision.

An American firm is suggesting, “In view of the opposite directions that courts in Canada and the United States seem to be heading on jurisdictional questions concerning corporations with complex structures, plaintiffs seeking to enforce on foreign judgments may well be seen heading north with increasing frequency in the future. – See more at:””

In the meantime, Chevron has commenced action in Gibraltar against an important financial backer of the Donzinger litigation In Bloomberg Businessweek, [] Chevron “… shows it intends to punish those who aided Steven Donziger’s Ecuadorian oil pollution case…”


March 11, 2014

Epic Ecuadorian Litigation to Play out in Canada

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruleswatch @ 1:20 pm

A spectacular recent, American Federal trial court ruling has at least temporarily put “paid” to super-epic, international litigation arising from 1970’s to 1990’s oil contamination of Ecuadorian rainforests.

The US claim (an attempt to enforce an 18 billion dollar Ecuadorian award in favour of thousands of Ecuadorians, against the alleged despoiler’s corporate successor, Chevron, in the States) has been ordered stayed by the New York district court based primarily of findings of misconduct attributed to the litigation’s legal master mind, American lawyer, Stephen Donzinger , [

The decision — for the moment, (Donzinger has announced that he has hired appellate counsel to challenge the decision) – has left a well known Canadian claim, Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corp.,2013 ONCA 758 [] with companion judgement enforcement litigation in Brazil and Argentina, to continue, pending the hearing of an appeal. 2014 ONCA 40

Website representatives of the Ecuadorian judgement holders state that following the American judgement, their “… focus now is on enforcing their judgment in countries where they can receive a fair hearing about Chevron’s pollution of the rainforest and refusal to abide by a legitimate ruling from the courts in Ecuador…”[

How that focus plays out remains to be seen. Chevron, who have said they would “fight this until hell freezes over” and then “fight it out on the ice,” have filed an application for leave to appeal on the Ontario appeal court decision, which was remitted to a leave-to-appeal panel of the Supreme Court of Canada on February 24, 2014.

Reuters has said, “Vaughan Black, a professor at the Schulich School of Law in Halifax, Nova Scotia, thinks Kaplan’s ruling will resonate if the Canadian case ends up being considered on its merits.”

“Basically an Ontario court would have to look at all the evidence again and start at the beginning,” Black said. “I suppose there is always the possibility that they could take a different view of which witnesses were credible, but the New York court didn’t even think it was a close call. So it doesn’t look very promising for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs.” []

On the other hand, Reuters has reported, the Canadian lawyer for the Ecuadorian interests, Alan Lenczner, has said the American ruling has “zero” impact on the ongoing proceedings in Canada.

Whether or how the American decision plays into Canadian litigation remains to be seen.

March 7, 2014

Quick witted cross examination

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruleswatch @ 5:22 pm

The British newspaper, the Guardian, has just given a very fine example of sharp, quick witted cross-examination. It’s worth reading from the March 6, 2014 edition of the publication.

UK newspaper doyenne, Rebekah Brooks, is on criminal trial for among other things phone hacking was cross-examined on March 6, 2014. The topic was whether or not Brooks knew of hacking or tired to cover it up. One source to her was her then paramour and deputy editior, Andy Coulson.

The Guardian reported:

“…. on Thursday acknowledged that she and Andy Coulson had been close enough to share secrets with each other during two periods when they are accused of conspiring to produce stories based on intercepted voicemails.

“In tense cross-examination, [the prosecutor]..Andrew Edis QC challenged Brooks over the meaning of a letter she wrote to Coulson in February 2004.

“Edis suggested the letter showed that they had been having an affair and sharing secrets for the preceding six years, during which time they published stories about Milly Dowler and David Blunkett which, the crown claims, were generated by hacking phone messages.

“Brooks repeatedly insisted that although she and Coulson had begun an affair in 1998, it had not continued for six years.

“The affair had stopped and both of them had got on with their lives before it had resumed briefly in 2003. “I hadn’t been sitting there like Miss Havisham for six years,” she said.

“At one point, Edis quoted part of the letter to Coulson in which she wrote: “I confide in you. I seek your advice.”

“He asked her: “That included work matters, didn’t it?”

“It could have done.”

Confide means trust – trust people with your confidences. No?”
“And that would include secrets relating to work?”
“And emotional issues as well.”

Edis then referred to another passage in the letter in which Brooks wrote: “For six years I have waited.”

“It suggests doesn’t it that the relationship had lasted six years?”

Brooks said that was not correct.

“You would be telling the truth when you were writing?”
“I was in a very emotional state when I wrote this letter.”
“That’s all the more reason why you would be telling the truth. It’s your heart-felt anguish.”

“Which is absolutely genuine.”

Edis turned to the state of their relationship in April 2002, when the crown claims that Brooks and Coulson plotted to use voicemail intercepted from the phone of the missing Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Brooks was then editor of the News of the World but Coulson, her deputy, was editing the paper while she was on holiday in Dubai.

“At that time were you talking with him in that confidential way?”
“We were close friends.”
“So you would trust each other?”

“I trusted him as a friend and as a deputy editor.”

“If the deputy editor was committing a crime, he might not want the editor in normal circumstances to find out about it. But he might be able to tell the editor if he really trusted her.”

Edis paused. “Was the relationship in April 2002 such that Mr Coulson could trust you with any confidence at all?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

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