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US court to hear appeal of Shell’s lawyers against decision to hand over internal documents for legal case in Netherlands alleging firm’s complicity in execution of activists in Nigeria

Ken Saro-Wiwa-credit-dignidadrebelde

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Article
8 September 2017

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

Author: Miriam Rozen, American Lawyer

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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Article
8 September 2017

Ogoni Nine: Shell’s lawyers refusing to hand over “critical” evidence – Amnesty International

Author: Cletus Ukpong, Premium Times (Nigeria)

The civil suit filed against Shell in the Netherlands for its alleged complicity in the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists by the Nigerian government has taken an interesting turn, as lawyers to the oil giant are being accused of refusing to hand over evidence said to be critical to the case.

The nine men, popularly referred to as ‘Ogoni Nine’ were executed in 1995 by Nigeria’s military regime under controversial circumstances.

The widows of four of the men, led by Esther Kiobel, are the plaintiffs in the case which was first filed in 2001 in the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, without hearing the substance of the case, had ruled that the U.S. did not have jurisdiction.

The widows filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands on June 28...

mnesty International directly accused Shell of trying to prevent the release of vital information.

Shell’s lawyers, according to the NGO, have appealed against the judgment of a U.S. federal court which ordered Shell to turn over the documents...

Shell has denied complicity in the killing of the Ogoni Nine...

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Article
8 September 2017

USA: Shell’s law firm refuses to hand over evidence critical for Ogoni Nine case Share

Author: Amnesty International USA

Shell’s US law firm is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents crucial to a legal case in the Netherlands which is alleging the oil giant’s complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men in Nigeria in the 1990s...

After a 20-year battle for justice, on June 28, four of the men’s widows, led by Esther Kiobel, filed a legal writ against Shell in the Netherlands. Shell is trying to prevent the release of information vital to the case.

On September 12, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York will hear the first appeal by Shell’s lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP against a federal court order to turn over the documents.

“Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold this critical information. Because the documents in question are so old, it is highly unlikely that there are legitimate business reasons for keeping them confidential. So what does Shell have to hide?” said Audrey Gaughran, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International...

On January 24, 2017, a New York district court ordered Cravath to turn over the documents.

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