Don't ask me how the U.S. judicial system can rule on an 8.6 billion judgment in the Ecuadorean judicial system, but it seems they have. Judge Lewis Kaplan, whose record already sucks, says that attempts to collect this judgment "might disrupt the day-to-day business of a company vital to the global economy". That's the kind of stuff fascists say... but not the kind of stuff Americans say.
I got on this to begin with at Public Intelligence, gaping at an ugly and inscrutable document they have posted for download, being reminded of Palast flummoxing Max Keiser the other day, and remembering about Greg being arrested in Azerbaijan, and wondering what he has brewing... and... well... so... ahem... just shoot me....
In the latest twist in a hard-fought international environmental case that reportedly could win a megabillions verdict for the plaintiffs, a federal judge in New York has granted a temporary restraining order banning enforcement of any judgment that might be awarded in the future by a court in Ecuador.
The request for a TRO by Chevron was part of a civil racketeering lawsuit it recently filed against the plaintiffs and a lawyer representing them, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Chevron had argued to the U.S. court that the plaintiffs, in a claimed memo that the oil company said was tied to another law firm representing them, had shown their intent to disrupt Chevron's business worldwide to try to collect any verdict, Reuters reports.
"Helter-skelter disruption for the sake of disruption ... is not in the public interest," said Judge Lewis Kaplan as he issued the order. "The worst that can happen is that the plaintiffs are delayed in enforcing that judgment for 28 days."
Kaplan ruled from the bench, notes the Associated Press.
The ruling yesterday follows a motion by a third law firm representing the plaintiffs, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, to withdraw for unknown reasons, according to Corporate Counsel.
As detailed in an earlier ABAJournal post, one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs, Patton Boggs, is seeking permission of a federal court in Washington, D.C., to sue Chevron and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for alleged tortious interference with its relationship with the plaintiffs.
A New York Law Journal article provides additional details about Kaplan's ruling.