Law of the Jungle: Chevron in the Amazon

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education and Litigation Practice Groups Teleforum September 22, 01:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

Steven Donziger, a self-styled social activist and Harvard educated lawyer, signed on to a budding class action lawsuit against multinational Texaco (which later merged with Chevron to become the third-largest corporation in America). The suit sought reparations for the Ecuadorian peasants and tribes people whose lives were affected by decades of oil production near their villages and fields. During twenty years of legal hostilities in federal courts in Manhattan and remote provincial tribunals in the Ecuadorian jungle, Mr. Donziger and Chevron’s lawyers followed fierce no-holds-barred rules. Mr. Donziger proved himself adept at influencing the media, Hollywood, and public opinion. He cajoled and coerced Ecuadorian judges on the theory that his noble ends justified any means of persuasion. And in the end, he won a $19 billion judgment against Chevon – the biggest environmental damages award in history. But the company refused to surrender or compromise. Instead, Chevron targeted Mr. Donziger personally, and its counter-attack revealed evidence of his politicking and manipulation of evidence. Suddenly the verdict, and decades of Mr. Donziger’s single-minded pursuit of the case, began to unravel.

Damages and Medical Monitoring - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Mark A. Behrens February 04, 2014

Medical SymbolThere is a split among appellate courts in the United States over medical monitoring – court-ordered payments to plaintiffs who have been exposed to some potentially harmful product or situation but have no symptoms. Is a present injury a fundamental prerequisite to any award? Should the person or entity that created the product or situation be required to pay plaintiffs for periodic medical testing? Most, but not all, courts say no. Mark Behrens discussed medical monitoring, when and where it might be required, and the latest trends.


  • Mark A. Behrens, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.

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NSA Court Decision - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Steven G. Bradbury, Orin S. Kerr, Dean A. Reuter December 20, 2013

A Federalist Society Symposium on the National Security Agency’s Bulk Data Seizures and FISA Surveillance Programs Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone metadata is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. Judge Leon enjoined the program in its entirety, but immediately stayed his injunction pending appeal, citing national security considerations. On a Teleforum conference call, our experts discussed the data collection program, Judge Leon’s decision, and the next steps in the case.


  • Steven G. Bradbury, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Prof. Orin S. Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

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DeLay v. Texas: Prosecutorial Overreach? - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Benjamin Barr, Craig Holman, Dean A. Reuter October 07, 2013

DeLay v. Texas: Prosecutorial Overreach? - PodcastFormer House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been involved in a lengthy legal battle over campaign finance activities in the 2002 election cycle. On September 19, 2013, a Texas court overturned Delay's previous conviction for money laundering, citing the evidence as legally insufficient to sustain his convictions. Our experts provided some summary of previous developments and technical background on the campaign finance aspects of the case, and offered a balanced discussion of the First Amendment issues at play.


  • Benjamin T. Barr, Counsel, Wyoming Liberty Group
  • Dr. Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Excludes Any Exposure Theory in Asbestos and Toxic-Tort Litigation

State Court Docket Watch Summer 2012
William L. Anderson, Kieran Tuckley August 27, 2012

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Excludes Any Exposure Theory in Asbestos and Toxic-Tort LitigationOn May 23, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that the trial court had properly excluded the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses from espousing the opinion that every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes substantially to mesothelioma. This is the any exposure theory that has served as the foundation for a significant expansion of asbestos litigation in recent years by incorporating even the smallest amount of occupational exposure as a “substantial factor” in causing disease. This article provides background information on the any exposure theory and explains the significance of this ruling and why this and other courts are regularly rejecting it. The Pennsylvania opinion is only the latest in a series of similar opinions excluding the any exposure theory as unscientific and unsuitable to support causation in toxic tort litigation... [Read more!]