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Esther Kiobel US Court battle for 100,000 Shell docs continues

Esther Kiobel with legal team and supporters in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC, 2012 © Private

Extracts: Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire. 

Petitioner has already waited over twenty years for a forum that will hear her claims for her husband’s execution. At this point, Petitioner’s co-plaintiffs in the Dutch litigation face increasingly fragile health, and now fear that “further delaying litigation in the Netherlands might impede their ability to bring their claim in the future.”

By John Donovan

Several months ago, a US Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein after carefully considering arguments made by the involved parties ordered Shell’s US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore to give Esther Kiobel access to more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents for use in the Dutch courts. Dutch proceedings against Shell commenced on 28 June 2017.

The Shell internal documents were assembled for Esther Kiobel’s thwarted US action against the oil giant which commenced over a decade ago. That litigation ended with a US Supreme Court decision that she could not bring a human rights claim against Shell in the US for alleged misdeeds committed in Nigeria, including involvement in the judicial murder of the ‘Ogoni 9′. Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire.

Cravath is now battling on its own behalf and no doubt on behalf of Shell, appealing against the Hellerstein decision. It hired another top gun US law firm to represent it in the forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing, scheduled for 12 September.

Extract from a submission made by EarthRights International lawyers acting for Esther Kiobel, Richard L. Herz and Alison Borochoff-Porte (See Doc 105 below):

Petitioner has already waited over twenty years for a forum that will hear her claims for her husband’s execution. At this point, Petitioner’s co-plaintiffs in the Dutch litigation face increasingly fragile health, and now fear that “further delaying litigation in the Netherlands might impede their ability to bring their claim in the future.”

Links to the latest court documents are provided below:

KiobelAppealdoc105: 28 Pages including exhibits. REPLY TO OPPOSITION [103], on behalf of Appellee Esther Kiobel, FILED. Service date 07/24/2017 by CM/ECF.[2085024][105] [17-424] [Entered: 07/24/2017 08:40 PM]

KiobelAppealDoc108: 2 pages: ARGUMENT NOTICE, to attorneys/parties, TRANSMITTED.[2087135] [17-424] [Entered: 07/27/2017 09:17 AM]

KiobelAppealDoc109: One page: NOTICE OF HEARING DATE ACKNOWLEDGMENT, on behalf of Appellant Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, FILED. Service date 07/27/2017 by CM/ECF. [2087613] [17-424] [Entered: 07/27/2017 01:12 PM]

KiobelAppealDoc111: MOTION ORDER, granting motion for judicial notice filed by Appellee Esther Kiobel, FILED. [2092307][111] [17-424] [Entered: 08/02/2017 04:44 PM]

KiobelAppealDoc112 2 Pages NOTICE OF APPEARANCE FOR SUBSTITUTE, ADDITIONAL, OR AMICUS COUNSEL: Filed 9 August 2017

KiobelAppealDoc114 One Page: NOTICE OF HEARING DATE: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.: Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY, 10007, 17th Floor, Room 1703: Time Allotment: 10 minutes per side.

KiobelAppealDoc115 2 Pages: NOTICE OF APPEARANCE FOR SUBSTITUTE, ADDITIONAL, OR AMICUS COUNSEL Filed 10 August 2017

Disclosure: The lead claimant Esther Kiobel, Channa Samkalden of the Dutch human rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira representing the widows, and the acclaimed human rights organisation Amnesty International, have all acknowledged the involvement of John Donovan in bringing the Dutch case. (*See Writ of Summons in English and Dutch served on Shell 28 June 2017 – copy obtained from US Pacer public electronic court records)

Shell blanket denial: Shell’s blanket denial of any responsibility for the ‘Ogoni Nine’ executions and related events/allegations can be read here. The denial does not explain why Shell settled for $15.5 million in June 2009 a case legally and substantively the same.

The Guardian: Shell pays out $15.5m over Saro-Wiwa killing: 9 June 2009

Shell to Pay $15.5 Million to Settle Nigerian Case: The New York Times: 8 June 2009

Shell, Nigerian families settle suit for $15.5 million: Reuters: 8 June 2009

Shell to pay $15.5 million to settle Nigeria claims: CNN: 8 June 2009

Shell Settles Human Rights Suit for $15.5 Million: Fox News/AssociatedPress: 8 June 2009

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