New BHRRC Quarterly Report

The latest Quarterly Report from the Business & Human Rights Resources Centre is out.  These periodic BHRRC reports, together with BHRRC’s weekly newsletters, are the best and most comprehensive resources available on corporate accountability / business and human rights lawsuits and other developments.  The latest reports summary of developments with lawsuits in national jurisdictions is as follows (for links to more information on each, see the Report itself).  I hope to be able to provide further comment on some of these cases shortly. Continue reading

Donziger, Ecuadorians File Emergency Motion to Stay Judge Kaplan’s RICO Decision

Reprinted from ChevronToxico

New York, NY – Saying the decision in Chevron’s RICO case is without legal precedent, New York Attorney Steven Donziger and two Ecuadorian villagers today filed papers with Judge Lewis A. Kaplan seeking to stay his decision granting an injunction and other remedies to Chevron after it was hit with a $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador for deliberately dumping toxic waste into the rainforest.

The papers, filed by Donziger’s lead appellate attorney Deepak Gupta, argue that Judge Kaplan’s decision is highly likely to be thrown out on appeal and will cause “irreparable harm” if not stayed pending the appeals process, which can sometimes take two years or more.

The papers, which can be read here, argue that Judge Kaplan’s RICO decision “seeks to preemptively undermine the judicial decree of a foreign sovereign nation and, in so doing, to let Chevron Corporation off the hook for decades of deliberate pollution in the Amazon rainforest.” The brief adds: “Along the way, it sidesteps jurisdictional hurdles, runs afoul of fundamental norms of international comity, and contravenes multiple decisions of the Second Circuit arising out of this same long-running controversy.” Continue reading

Second Circuit Response, Part I

Second Circuit Decision in Chevron Corp. v Donziger et al.:

PART I: Rubber-Stamping Biased Findings Designed to Intimidate Foreign Courts and Protect an “Important” U.S. Company

[W]e are dealing here with a company of considerable importance to our economy that employs thousands all over the world, that supplies a group of commodities, gasoline, heating oil, other fuels and lubricants on which every one of us depends every single day. I don’t think there is anybody in this courtroom who wants to pull his car into a gas station to fill up and finds that there isn’t any gas there because these folks [the Ecuadorians, as part of their efforts to enforce their environmental judgment] have attached it in Singapore or wherever else.

—U.S. federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan, Feb. 18, 2011

The Second Circuit opinion in the Chevron Corp. v Donziger et al. case has been a disappointment for those who (try to) think that U.S. federal courts are “above the fray” of ideological politics and corporate interests. The opinion is a blatant “hatchet job” on Steven Donziger, the New York-based human rights lawyer who for the last 20 years has teamed up with Ecuadorian indigenous nationalities and Amazon farmers to press an historic environmental lawsuit against Chevron, and who Chevron considered so dangerous that in 2009 its top strategists crafted “long-term strategy” to avoid the environmental liability, a strategy that they succinctly summarized, in internal emails, in two words: “demonize Donziger.” Continue reading

firm principles

The mission of Forum Nobis PLLC is to provide expert advice, zealous advocacy, and strategic counseling on complex issues of international law, human rights, and environmental justice to individuals and communities affected by injustice.  Through its mission, Forum Nobis furthers the public interest by increasing the quality and effectiveness of international legal discourses and adjudicatory processes, leveling historical inequalities in those discourses, and, most critically, helping affected individuals and communities achieve justice for themselves, in meaningful terms and within reasonable time frames. Continue reading