833 F.3d 74 (2nd Cir. 2016), 14-0826(L), Chevron Corp. v. Donziger

Docket Nº:14-0826(L), 14-0832(C)
Citation:833 F.3d 74
Opinion Judge:KEARSE, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:Chevron Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Steven Donziger, The Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger, Donziger & Associates, PLLC, Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje, Defendants-Appellants, Stratus Consulting, Inc., Douglas Beltman, Ann Maest, Defendants-Counter-Claimants, Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Luis Yanza, Frente De Defensa ...
Attorney:Theodore B. Olson, Washington, D.C. (Randy M. Mastro, Andrea E. Neuman, Caitlin J. Halligan, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, New York, New York, William E. Thomson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, California, on the brief), for Plaintiff-Appellee . Deepak Gupta, Washington, D.C. (Gregory A. Beck, ...
Judge Panel:Before: KEARSE, PARKER, and WESLEY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 08, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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833 F.3d 74 (2nd Cir. 2016)

Chevron Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Steven Donziger, The Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger, Donziger & Associates, PLLC, Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje, Defendants-Appellants,

Stratus Consulting, Inc., Douglas Beltman, Ann Maest, Defendants-Counter-Claimants,

Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Luis Yanza, Frente De Defensa De La Amazonia aka Amazon Defense Front, Selva Viva Selviva CIA, LTDA, Maria Aguinda Salazar, Carlos Grefa Huatatoca, Catalina Antonia Aguinda Salazar, Lidia Alexandra Aguinda Aguinda, Patricio Alberto Chimbo Yumbo, Clide Ramiro Aguinda Aguinda, Luis Armando Chimbo Yumbo, Beatriz Mercedes Grefa Tanguila, Lucio Enrique Grefa Tanguila, Patricio Wilson Aguinda Aguinda, Celia Irene Viveros Cusangua, Francisco Matias Alvarado Yumbo, Francisco Alvarado Yumbo, Olga Gloria Grefa Cerda, Lorenzo José Alvarado Yumbo, Narcisa Aida Tanguila Narváez, Bertha Antonia Yumbo Tanguila, Gloria Lucrecia Tanguila Grefa, Francisco Victor Tanguila Grefa, Rosa Teresa Chimbo Tanguila, José Gabriel Revelo Llore, María Clelia Reascos Revelo, María Magdalena Rodríguez Barcenes, JoséMiguel Ipiales Chicaiza, Heleodoro Pataron Guaraca, Luisa Delia Tanguila Narváez, Lourdes Beatriz Chimbo Tanguila, María Hortencia Viveros Cusangua, Segundo Angel Amanta Milán, Octavio Ismael Córdova Huanca, Elias Roberto Piyahuaje Payahuaje, Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje, Benancio Fredy Chimbo Grefa, Guillermo Vicente Payaguaje Lusitante, Delfín Leonidas Payaguaje Payaguaje, Alfredo Donaldo Payaguaje Payaguaje, Teodoro Gonzalo Piaguaje Payaguaje, Miguel Mario Payaguaje Payaguaje, Fermin Piaguaje Payaguaje, Reinaldo Lusitande Yaiguaje, Luis Agustín Payaguaje Piaguaje, Emilio Martín Lusitande Yaiguaje, Simon Lusitande Yaiguaje, Armando Wilfrido Piaguaje Payaguaje, Angel Justino Piaguage Lucitante, Defendants,

Andrew Woods, Laura J. Garr, H5, Respondents. *

Nos. 14-0826(L), 14-0832(C)

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 8, 2016

Argued: April 20, 2015

Final briefs submitted June 1, 2015.

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Appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Lewis A. Kaplan, Judge, principally (1) enjoining defendants-appellants from seeking to enforce in the United States an $8.646 billion Ecuadorian judgment against plaintiff-appellee Chevron Corporation, and (2) imposing a constructive trust for Chevron's benefit on any property defendants-appellants have received or may receive anywhere in the world that is traceable to the Ecuadorian judgment or its enforcement. The district court found, following a bench trial, that the Ecuadorian judgment had been procured through, inter alia, defendants' bribery, coercion, and fraud, warranting relief against defendants Steven Donziger and his law firm under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, and against all defendants-appellants under New York common law. See 974 F.Supp.2d 362 (2014). Appellants challenge the district court's judgment principally on grounds of Article III standing, international comity, judicial estoppel, lack of legal authority for the granting of equitable relief, and/or lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants other than Donziger and his firm. Noting, inter alia, that appellants do not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the district court's factual findings, that the Ecuadorian appellate courts declined to hear and resolve the above charges of corruption and expressly preserved the parties' rights to litigate those charges in United States courts, and that the district court's judgment has imposed in personam restrictions on the appellants without disturbing the Ecuadorian judgment, we find no basis for overturning the judgment of the district court.

Theodore B. Olson, Washington, D.C. (Randy M. Mastro, Andrea E. Neuman, Caitlin J. Halligan, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, New York, New York, William E. Thomson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, California, on the brief), for Plaintiff-Appellee .

Deepak Gupta, Washington, D.C. (Gregory A. Beck, Jonathan E. Taylor, Gupta Beck, Washington, D.C.; Justin Marceau, John Campbell, Denver, Colorado, on the brief), for Defendants-Appellants Steven Donziger, The Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger, and Donziger & Associates, PLLC .

Burt Neuborne, New York, New York, for Defendants-Appellants Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje .

Winston & Strawn, Washington, D.C. (Eric W. Bloom, Lauren B. Schuttloffel, Eric M. Goldstein, Nassim H. Hooshmandnia, of counsel), a brief for Amicus Curiae The Republic of Ecuador, in support of neither party .

Gross Belsky Alonso, San Francisco, California (Jonathan Moore, Terry Gross, Adam C. Belsky, Monique Alonso, San Francisco, California; Thomas Bennigson, Public Good Law Center, Berkeley, California, of counsel), a brief for Amici Curiae Amnesty International, Amazon Watch, 350 Bay Area, Center for Environmental Health, CT Citizen Action Group, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, The International Accountability Project, Justice in Nigeria Now!, Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, Media Alliance, Pachamama Alliance, Rainforest Action Network, Rights Action and Sunflower Alliance, in support of Defendants-Appellants .

Donald K. Anton, Canberra, Australia, a brief for Amici Curiae International Law Professors, in support of Defendants-Appellants.

G. Robert Blakey, Paradise Valley, Arizona, a brief as Amicus Curiae, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Christopher J. Walker, Columbus, Ohio (Kate Comerford Todd, Tyler R. Green, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, Inc.,

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Washington, D.C., of counsel), a brief for Amicus Curiae Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Faegre Bakers Daniels, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Aaron D. Van Oort, Jeffrey P. Justman, of counsel), a brief for Amici Curiae Keith S. Rosenn, Francisco Reyes, and Raul Nunez Ojeda, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Holwell, Shuster & Goldberg, New York, New York (Richard J. Holwell, of counsel), a brief for Amici Curiae Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Jurists, in partial support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Richard A. Samp, Washington, D.C. (Cory L. Andrews, Washington Legal Foundation, of counsel), a brief for Amicus Curiae Washington Legal Foundation, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Roger P. Alford, Notre Dame, Indiana, a brief for Amici Curiae Business Roundtable and International Law Scholars, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Jesse P. Levine, New York, New York (William B. Shipley, Genthod, Switzerland, of counsel), a brief for Amici Curiae Richard Janda, Juan C. Pinto, and Carolina Cruz Vinaccia, in support of Defendants-Appellants .

Richard L. Herz, Washington, D.C. (Marco B. Simons, Jonathan G. Kaufman, Michelle Harrison, Benjamin Hoffman, of counsel), a brief for Amicus Curiae Earth Rights International, in support of Defendants-Appellants .

G. Elaine Wood, New York, New York, a brief for Amicus Curiae Legal Momentum, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee .

Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader, Los Angeles, California (K. Lee Crawford-Boyd, Los Angeles, California; Judith Kimerling, New York, New York, of counsel), a brief for Amici Curiae Proposed Huaorani Intervenors, in partial support of Defendants-Appellants .

Before: KEARSE, PARKER, and WESLEY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

KEARSE, Circuit Judge:

Defendants-appellants Steven Donziger, Donziger & Associates, PLLC, and the Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger (collectively the “ Donziger Firm” or “ Firm” ), and defendants-appellants Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo (“ Camacho” ) and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje (“ Piaguaje” ), appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Lewis A. Kaplan, Judge, granting certain relief against them in favor of plaintiff-appellee Chevron Corporation (“ Chevron” ), in connection with an $8.646 billion judgment obtained against Chevron in Ecuador (“ Ecuadorian Judgment” ), by several dozen named plaintiffs from Ecuador’s Lago Agrio area (the “ Lago Agrio Plaintiffs” or “ LAPs” ) represented by the Donziger Firm, for environmental damage in connection with 1960s-1990s oil exploration activities in Ecuador by Texaco, Inc. (“ Texaco” ), whose stock was later acquired by Chevron. The district court’s judgment, entered after a bench trial, principally (1) enjoins defendants-appellants from seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian Judgment in any court in the United States, and (2) imposes a constructive trust for Chevron’s benefit on any property defendants-appellants have received or may...

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