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Shell Fights to Keep Oil Futures Probe Documents Secret

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 14.40.38Shell lawyers are panicking about the prospect of being compelled to hand over secret information to a US court hearing a case about alleged manipulation of the crude oil futures market. Shell mentions the protection of trade secrets. In my experience, that is probably trade secrets Shell has stolen from someone else, inevitably a smaller company, or an individual who made the mistake of trusting Shell and its sham business principles. 

By John Donovan

A Shell insider source has brought to my attention certain current litigation in the USA in which Shell Oil Company has involvement as one of a number of third parties.

Shell lawyers are panicking about the prospect of being compelled to hand over secret information to a US court hearing a case about alleged manipulation of the crude oil futures market.

For obvious reasons, the timing is rather unfortunate for Shell.

The case is:

U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION, Plaintiff,

-against-

PARNON ENERGY INC., ARCADIA PETROLEUM LTD, ARCADIA ENERGY (SUISSE) SA, NICHOLAS J. WILDGOOSE AND JAMES T. DYER,

Defendant.

(Case 1:11-cv-03543-WH)

In recent days lawyers acting for Shell have filed a flurry of documents with the court, all are bundled together in the pdf file I have compiled.

As can be seen from these extracts from pages 4 and 5 of the 8 page submission, Shell really does not want to hand the information over.

Extracts

1. Shell objects to each document request to the extent it seeks to impose obligations beyond those required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and/or any other applicable rule or court order.

2. Shell objects to each document request to the extent it seeks the production of information that constitutes proprietary information, trade secrets or other confidential research, development or commercial information of Shell. Disclosure of such information would cause substantial economic harm to Shell. Further, such information is neither relevant to any issue in this lawsuit nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

3. Shell objects to each document request to the extent it seeks, or can be construed to seek, the disclosure of information protected from discovery by the attorney-client privilege, the evaluation privilege, the work-product doctrine or any other applicable privilege, exemption, or immunity recognized under federal, state, or intemationallaw.

4. Shell objects to each document request to the extent that it requires the production of documents for which Shell requested confidential treatment pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act under CFTC Rule 145.9, 17 C.F.R. § 145.9.

5. Shell objects to each document request to the extent that it is overly broad, unduly burdensome, vexatious, or harassing.

6. Shell objects to each document request to the extent it calls for a legal conclusion.

7. Shell objects to each document request to the extent that it seeks documents not relevant to the claims or defenses of any party and is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

8. Shell objects to each document request to the extent that it requires the production of documents that contain private information about individuals.

9. Shell reserves all objections that may be available to it at any hearing or trial or on any motion to the use or admissibility of any information provided or documents produced, as well as the right to object to further discovery relating to the subject matter of any information or document provided.

Shell mentions the protection of trade secrets. In my experience, that is probably trade secrets Shell has stolen from someone else, inevitably a smaller company, or an individual who made the mistake of trusting Shell and its sham business principles.

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