Court Won't Stay Chevron's Subpoena Against Lawyer
(CN) - The 2nd Circuit rejected a lawyer's motion to stay subpoenas he faces from Chevron in connection to the $113 billion environmental lawsuit he helped engineer against the oil giant in Ecuador.
Steven Donziger has until Nov. 22 to file his opening brief for an expedited appeal, scheduled for Dec. 9, according to the order from the circuit judges.
Donziger is the lead American attorney helping a group of Ecuadorian nonprofits sue Chevron in Lago Agrio for alleged environmental contamination Texaco caused during 30 years of drilling in Ecuador.
Chevron says it can prove through discovery that it has not had a fair trial and that Donziger is not "playing by the rules."
Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs, said Chevron's subpoenas seek privileged information.
"Since this lawsuit began, it has been Chevron who has refused to play by the rules," Hinton said. "This subpoena along with dozens of others is designed only to drain the plaintiffs' ability to defend themselves. Unlike Chevron, the plaintiffs have the evidence on their side and, for that reason, they will prevail at the end of the day."
Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson said the court has not found any privilege issues are in the way of discovery, and that Donziger could have prepared a privilege log by now.
Donziger's attorney, Bruce Kaplan with Friedman Kaplan, said he could not comment about a case that is before the court.