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.
Corporations, Securities & Antitrust and Litigation Practice Groups Podcast
On Monday, June 23, 2014 the Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision in the highly anticipated securities fraud case Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund. The case offered the Court an opportunity to revisit its 1988 decision in Basic v. Levinson, in which it adopted the “fraud on the market” doctrine. Fraud on the market is critical to modern securities fraud class action lawsuits -- the doctrine assumes that any misrepresentations of a security traded in an efficient market will affect that security’s market price and thus affect any shareholders trading in reliance of market price, an assumption that precludes consideration of whether potential class members actually heard and acted on fraudulent statements. The Court declined to overturn Basic; our expert discussed the reasoning and impact of the decision.
Little Rock Lawyers Chapter
- George T. Conway III, Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
The Little Rock Lawyers Chapter hosted a debate titled "Is Tort Reform Conservative?" at the Arkansas State Capitol in the Old Supreme Court Room on June 24, 2014. Brian Brooks of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and James Copland of the Manhattan Institute offered their contrasting views on the constitutionality of varying tort reform measures, and also shared their analyses on how those measures align with traditional conservative values.
SCOTUScast 7-15-14 featuring Todd Braunstein
- Brian Brooks, Counsel, Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association
- James R. Copland, Senior Fellow and Director, Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy
- Moderator: Chad Pekron, Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow PLLC
On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loughrin v. United States. The question in this case is whether the government must prove that a defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss in every prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, or whether the government need only prove that a defendant knowingly attempted to defraud someone “to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”
Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that the government does not need to prove that a defendant charged with violating 18 U. S. C.§1344(2) intended to defraud a bank. The judgment of the Tenth Circuit was affirmed. Justice Kagan's opinion was joined in full by the Chief and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia and Thomas also joined as to Parts I and II, Part III–A except the last paragraph, and the last footnote of Part III–B. In addition, Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, concurred in part and in the judgment. Justice Alito filed a separate concurrence in part and in the judgment.
To discuss the case, we have Todd Braunstein, who is counsel at the law firm WilmerHale.