By John Donovan
19 February 2008
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY: ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL TRANSPORT SECURITIES LITIGATION
Earlier today, lawyers filed motions in a New Jersey Court, the purpose of which is to keep secret the negotiations and related matters which led to Shell agreeing to pay $27 million in legal costs to the New York attorneys acted for the lead U.S. plaintiffs in the above litigation.
The following are extracts from the BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO SEAL MATERIALS
These documents either directly or indirectly discuss events in this matter that may invoke various privileges, including, but not limited to, attorney client privilege, attorney work product doctrine and trial strategy and confidential negotiations between parties. As this litigation is on-going, it requests that the Court seal these materials to protect their confidential nature.
The papers sought to be filed under seal discuss information and documents protected by the attorney-client privilege, trial strategy, attorney work product and confidential negotiations. If disclosed during this pending litigation, confidential information may be revealed not only to the general public but also defendants presently in this matter.
As can be seen from the documents accessible below, attorneys involved in the litigation are anxious that the terms of the deal which allows Shell to proceed with its plans for an already agreed settlement of Non-U.S. claims, remain secret. The settlement of $352.6 million, plus $47 million in legal fees for Non-U.S. claims is subject to approval by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals in The Netherlands.
There is nothing new about vitally important document relating to the fraud being kept in whole or part from Shell shareholders.
We have already published two versions of the Davis Polk & Wardwell Report to the Shell Group Audit Committee.
The first version, a “Summary” consisted of just 26 pages.
The second had 202 pages.
MARKED AS BEING “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL”: REPORT OF DAVIS POLK & WARDWELL TO SHELL GROUP AUDIT COMMITTEE (Now searchable- 202 pages)
However, it is not commonly known that the Report actually contained 463 pages. Although over four years have passed since news first broke about the scandal, 261 pages have been held back i.e. the majority of the report. Since Shell shareholders will have paid dearly for the report, the entire content should be released without further delay.
There is no excuse for keeping Shell shareholders in the dark.
DOC 470: Notice of Motion to Seal: 19 February 2008
DOC 470-2: Brief in Support of Motion to Seal Materials: 19 February 2008
DOC 470-3: Proposed Order Granting Motion to Seal: 19 February 2008
DOC 470-4: Certificate of Service: 19 February 2008