Amnesty International Targets Cravath as Shell Discovery Fight Goes to 2nd Circuit [subscription required]

Author: Miriam Rozen, American Lawyer, Published on: 8 September 2017

Amnesty International has zeroed in on Cravath, Swaine & Moore, claiming in a Sept. 8 release that the New York firm is refusing to hand over "critical" evidence in long-running litigation against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell…

Kiobel is now looking to the Dutch courts. And for that, she wants documents—in the possession of Shell's former lawyers at Cravath—related to her unsuccessful case in the United States.

In January, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan ordered Cravath to give Kiobel the requested documents, which previously had been placed under protective order…

Cravath challenged Hellerstein's ruling, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is scheduled to hear the appeal on Sept. 12…

"Suing a U.S. law firm should not be a back door to secure documents from foreign clients, who are outside of U.S. jurisdictional boundaries," Haslam [who is Shell’s spokesperson] wrote in an email…

Backing Cravath in friend of the court briefs are the New York City Bar Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…

The Chamber of Commerce, Association of Corporate Counsel and National Association of Manufacturers…argue that the ruling harms the U.S. discovery regime. "The clear message of the district court's decision is not only that protective orders are not protective, but also that a litigant who places faith in a protective order may suffer for its misplaced reliance decades later. By allowing such ready—and calamitous—circumvention, the district court's decision will undermine confidence in the protective orders that are the lifeblood of discovery."

Not surprisingly, Kiobel's lawyer, Marco Simons of the nonprofit EarthRights International, disagrees.

"None of this material is privileged. The only materials at issue were previously produced in discovery," Simons said…

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