Second Circuit Grants Chevron Access to ‘Crude’ Video

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals took just a day to determine that Chevron had the right to view video that was shot for but not used in the final version of the documentary-style film “Crude.” The director, Joe Berlinger, does not have to turn over every second of footage, but he must make available anything that Chevron could possibly use to defend itself from the $27 billion shakedown litigation by U.S. trial lawyers. Chevron’s attorneys decided not to bother with the celebrities, instead argued the law and won the day.

From the order (Scribd here):

Pending further order of this Court, respondent Joseph Berlinger is directed to comply
forthwith with the District Court’s order, to the following extent:

1) Berlinger shall promptly turn over to the petitioners copies of all footage that does not
appear in publicly released versions of Crude showing: (a) counsel for the plaintiffs in the case of Maria Aguinda y Otros v. Chevron Corp.; (b) private or court-appointed experts in that proceeding; or (c) current or former officials of the Government of Ecuador.
2) Material produced under this order shall be used by the petitioners solely for litigation, arbitration, or submission to official bodies, either local or international.
3) Berlinger’s reasonable expenses of sorting and duplication of footage, incurred in complying with this order, are to be reimbursed by Chevron.
4) Any disputes related to the performance of this order shall be directed to the district court for resolution.
Opinion to follow.

Congratulations to Chevron. As we argued in our post Wednesday, Chevron has the right to defend itself, as do its employees who face abusive criminal charges in Ecuador. The subjects in the film signed waivers, had no expectations of privacy, and Berlinger couldn’t seriously claim “confidentiality” even if he served in some quasi-journalistic role.

Let the truth out, the judges decided.

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