What Else Will Footage from ‘Crude’ Show?

By August 3, 2010Briefly Legal, Energy

One of the reasons that Chevron filed the memorandum with U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, we blogged about below is that the company has only started reviewing footage from the documentary-style film, “Crude.” Given how damning the early outtakes are, and the apparent games being played over the footage, what else might be out there? Better make sure the footage is preserved.

We especially liked the following passage from Chevron’s court filing, demonstrating once again that there’s no real distinction among the U.S. trial lawyers — Steven Donziger and the Philadelphia law firm funding the litigation, Kohn, Swift & Graf — the Ecuadorian lawyer/activists like Luis Yanza and Pablo Fajarda, and the supposed grassroots activists of the Amazon Defense Coalition, which turns out mostly to be PR person Karen Hinton.

It would strain the Second Circuit’s Order to include only footage of counsel and not footage of those working on behalf of or in concert with Plaintiffs’ counsel. There is little question that groups such as Soltani’s Amazon Watch and Amazon Defense Front have been working on behalf of or in concert with Plaintiffs’ counsel in connection with the Lago Agrio Litigation, and thus footage of personnel from those groups should be produced pursuant to the Second Circuit’s Order. Indeed, recognizing the role that personnel from such organizations have played on behalf of Plaintiffs’ counsel, Berlinger has treated Luis Yanza and other members of Amazon Defense Front as part of Plaintiffs’ litigation team, and has already produced footage including Luis Yanza. See Ex. U. Nonetheless, during the meet and confer, Berlinger’s counsel stated that Mr. Berlinger has taken the position that communications with or film involving Amazon Watch and the Frente are privileged, even though they stand effectively in the same position as Yanza. But Plaintiffs have asserted in the District Court in Colorado that the Frente, Amazon Watch, and Karen Hinton are so closely aligned that they fall within the circle of attorney-client privilege. Ex. QQ. They cannot possible contend here that communications with “Plaintiffs’ counsel” do not include Karen Hinton, the Frente, and Amazon Watch.

It’s the combine — trial lawyers, activists and the supposedly disinterested media — working to wring billions out of Chevron’s shareholders.

Chevron asks the court to order the plaintiffs and their team to preserve evidence, to allow further discovery, and to require director Joe Berlinger to produce the original footage log.