Thursday, December 23, 2010

Judge Enforces Chevron's Subpoena of Penn. Lawyer

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(CN) - A federal judge said Chevron can subpoena a Pennsylvania lawyer and his firm over his role in a $113 billion environmental lawsuit against the oil company in Ecuador. Meanwhile in Ecuador, one day after a judge closed the window to submit new evidence, Chevron tried to invalidate the complaint because it allegedly contains forged signatures.

Joseph Kohn of Kohn, Swift & Graf forfeited his right to attorney-client privilege by letting a documentary crew film strategy sessions, U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois found.

Kohn and another attorney, Steven Donziger, helped Ecuadorians sue Chevron over damage to their community from 30 years of drilling in the country conducted by Texaco, which became a Chevron subsidiary in 2001.

In a bid to draw international attention to the case, and mount pressure on Chevron, they also invited filmmaker Joseph Berlinger to document the rainforest devastation. Berlinger's access gave him an intimate look at the legal strategy adopted by the plaintiffs suing Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador.

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