Lago Agrio: Judge Kaplan Rebuffs Donziger’s Informal Request To Delay Summary Judgment Proceedings

Barack Obama
Way to go, America!
I reported a couple of weeks ago that Chevron had sought summary judgment against Steven Donziger on its claim that he violated [section] 487 of the New York Judiciary Law. Donziger’s lawyers have written a letter to Judge Kaplan asking for an extension of time until after the close of discovery in May 2013 to respond to the motion. The judge—quite properly—denied the request without prejudice to an application under FRCP 56(d). Rule 56(d) permits the court to defer consideration of a summary judgment motion pending further discovery if the non-moving party “shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition.” Chevron’s motion was timely under FRCP 56(b), which permits the summary judgment motions “at any time until 30 days after the close of all discovery” unless the court has made a different order.1

Ultimately I suspect Judge Kaplan will allow Donziger to take some discovery before responding the motion, if only to avoid creating appellate issues. But Donziger will at least have to submit some affidavits explaining what discovery he needs to take and otherwise justifying his request for more time.

Just to keep you in the loop, there are a few more Lago Agrio issues I plan to cover. There is a motion for judgment on the pleadings by the Ecuadoran defendants. There is the issue of the subpoenas to Google and other ISPs. And there are the new recognition and enforcement actions in Argentina and, soon, Colombia.

  1. I haven’t checked whether there is a scheduling order in the Donziger case, but I assume the motion was timely under the applicable schedule.

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