Drummond sues NGO & others for accusing firm of collaborating with Colombian paramilitaries; intl. NGOs issue statement

Drummond reportedly sued those who had accused the company of collaborating with paramilitaries guilty of human rights violations in Colombia. Over 50 international NGOs issue statement of support for PAX.

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15 December 2015

Labour-Rights Lawyer Paid Witnesses And Lied About It, Judge Says

Author: Daniel Fisher, Forbes (USA)

The judge hearing [Drummond’s] defamation suit against an international labor-rights activist has issued a blistering ruling against the lawyer, accusing him of repeatedly lying about making payments to witnesses and possibly assisting them in committing perjury.  Collingsworth [sued] Drummond Coal over allegations the company collaborated with right-wing paramilitary officers to kill union officials…Those suits have all been dismissed, but Drummond fired back by suing Collingsworth for defamation.  The firm also accuses Dutch Oil company Llanos Oil in a separate suit of aiding in the conspiracy by paying one of the witnesses in Collingsworth’s case…U.S. District Judge…said he will allow Drummond to pierce the attorney-client privilege Collingsworth has used…[The judge] said there was ample evidence Collingsworth…had misled the court about their payments to witnesses…One of the most startling revelations to come out of the documents so far is that…one of the owners of Llanos Oil, paid a onetime Drummond contractor...right before [he] changed his testimony to implicate Drummond executives in the killing of two union officials…[T]he judge certified his order for an interlocutory appeal.  Collingsworth…said his lawyers will appeal this week…If the judge’s order stands, Drummond’s lawyers will issue more sweeping demands for communications between plaintiff lawyers and the witnesses…

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7 December 2015

Drummond v Collingsworth Order

Author: R. David Proctor, Judge for United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division

In the face of what is now indisputable evidence, it is clear, and Collingsworth admits, that he made “security” payments to  multiple (at least six) witnesses in South America as part of his prosecution of lawsuits against Drummond Coal Company…Collingsworth only disclosed three such payments to the court and Drummond.  In fact, on multiple occasions he has given sworn testimony that there were only three witnesses paid…The court finds that the crime-fraud exception applies here, and that it operates to pierce the work product and attorney client privileges to the extent explained in this opinion, thus allowing Drummond…to furrow deeper into the hole of matters otherwise covered by the veil of privacy.  Moreover, because the crime-fraud exception applies here, Drummond is entitled to a second round of discovery…In accordance with the findings of this Memorandum Opinion: (1) the remaining portions of the Report and Recommendation of Special Master Regarding Certain Issues Relating to the Court’s Hearing on Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions…are ADOPTED and  APPROVED, to be implemented consistent with this Opinion; and (2) Drummond Company, Inc.’s Motions to Compel Answers to Deposition Questions…are GRANTED, to be implemented consistent with this Opinion…

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26 May 2015

Declaration in support of PAX and human rights work in the coal-­‐mining region of Cesar, Colombia

Author: More than 50 NGOs

We, the undersigned organizations and trade unions, are writing to express our support for the legitimate work of PAX and other NGOs, human rights defenders and victims' organizations in the coal-mining region of Cesar, Colombia...[W]e sincerely regret the fact that false and derogatory statements are being made against the legitimate work of NGOs and human rights defenders who have always promoted a respectable, non-­‐litigious approach to a collective reconciliation process...These legal accusations are a serious obstacle to future dialogue and reconciliation in Cesar.

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17 April 2015

Drummond sues NGO & others in US court for accusing firm of collaborating with paramilitaries over human rights abuses in Colombia

Author: Alice Bradshaw-Smith, Colombia Reports (Colombia)

“Drummond hits back at those who accused company of paramilitary ties,” 11 Apr 2015

…Drummond has sued those who had accused the…business of collaborating with paramilitaries guilty of human rights violations in Colombia. A recently filed lawsuit contends that several lawyers, an advocacy group and a Dutch competitor worked together to extort money from Drummond through their allegations against the company. Drummond…was accused of financing paramilitary groups responsible for 2,600 homicides, massacres, forced displacement, and disappearances…as was detailed in an investigative report released by the Dutch NGO PAX last year…The court concluded in their published report that there was no proof that “the paramilitaries were receiving payments from Drummond,” and determined that “the evidence presented by the plaintiffs did not prove the guilt of the defendants.”…The multinational’s claims...allege that its adversaries have violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a federal law generally used to combat the mafia….

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