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Kiobel v Shell lawyers hearing 12 Sept 2017

Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal: September 12, 2017

Forcing Cravath, Swaine & Moore to hand over documents related to litigation against Royal Dutch Shell to a plaintiff seeking redress in Dutch courts would give rise to “discovery litigation tourism,” an attorney for the firm said Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court.

Esther Kiobel, who was unsuccessful in her effort to hold Shell liable in American courts for the 1995 execution death of her husband and eight others under the Alien Tort Statute, has taken her fight to the courts in the Netherlands.

Cravath is challenging a January ruling by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York ordering the firm to turn over files that Shell provided to it during litigation over Kiobel’s class action suit, which lasted about 11 years.

The firm contends Shell could not maintain an expectation of confidentiality if Hellerstein is upheld in Kiobel v. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, 17-cv-7992.

Amnesty International, while not a party in the case, has said Shell was complicit in the deaths of the “Ogoni Nine” and last week called out Cravath in a news release emphasizing that the firm refuses to hand over the records.

But Cravath is backed by a group of amici parties concerned about the broader implications of requiring Cravath to turn over the documents. They are the New York City Bar Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. FULL ARTICLE

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