Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chevron Corporation v. Weinberg Group

Jun 12: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 11-7097. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The case involves subpoenaed documents by Chevron from the Washington, DC-based Weinberg Group, a scientific consulting firm working for Ecuadorian citizens in their case against Chevron for environmental damage there.
    The Weinberg Group asserted the attorney-client and work product privileges over some of the documents responsive to the subpoena. In the D.C. district court, Chevron moved to compel production of those documents. Chevron contended that the documents fell within the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client and work product privileges. The D.C. district court found that the crime-fraud exception applied and granted Chevron's motion to compel.
    However, the Appeals Court explains that the D.C. district court relied almost entirely on a decision in favor of Chevron by the New York district court in the underlying fraud litigation. See Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 768 F. Supp. 2d 581 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). While the Weinberg Group's appeal to this court was pending, however, the Second Circuit reversed the decision of the New York
district court. See Chevron Corp. v. Naranjo, 667 F.3d 232, 247 (2d Cir. 2012). The D.C. Appeals Court said, "Given that the D.C. district court relied on the decision of the New York district court and that the New York district court's decision was subsequently reversed by the Second Circuit, we must vacate the D.C. district court's decision and remand."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#All, #CADC]
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