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.
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Putting aside criminal cases, the stakes for all sides are perhaps never higher than in a class action case – mere certification of a class can increase the pressure to settle exponentially. But, of course, the class must be properly composed in order to be certified. In the recently-decided Wal-Mart v. Dukes case, the U.S. Supreme Court revisited some of the basic requirements for certification of a class of plaintiffs, including commonality. Other requirements of Rule 23 certification may surface in ongoing litigation stemming from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where defense attorneys are arguing, among other things, that the settlement agreement is being administered and interpreted overly broadly to include numerous class members who have not suffered any injury caused by BP. Our experts will discuss recent developments in class action litigation, including a pending petition for cert in the BP case. The Federalist Society presented this panel on September 4, 2014.
- Prof. Neal K. Katyal, Partner, Hogan Lovells, and Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of National Security Law, Georgetown University Law Center
- Hon. Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
- Moderator: Mr. Stuart S. Taylor, Jr., Nonresident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
National Press Club Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
In a case decided on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court ruled that subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought health insurance in exchanges run by an individual state or the District of Columbia, and not to people who purchased health insurance on the federally run exchange, HealthCare.gov. How did the court reach its conclusion, and is the court’s reasoning sound? Will the ruling make the Affordable Care Act financially unworkable? Is a final ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court inevitable?
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
- Prof. Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
- Prof. Nicholas Bagley, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
The Supreme Court issued a number of notable opinions in the area of criminal law during the recently concluded term. Members of the Federalist Society’s Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Executive Committee offered their analysis on recent developments in the Supreme Court’s criminal law jurisprudence and fielded questions from a call-in audience.
Corporations, Securities & Antitrust and Litigation Practice Groups Podcast
- Dean Mazzone, Chief of the Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
- Kent S. Scheidegger, Legal Director and General Counsel, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation
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.
- George T. Conway III, Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz