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Chevron Corporation v. Donziger

United States District Court, Second Circuit

October 7, 2013

CHEVRON CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN DONZIGER, et al., Defendants.

Randy Mastro, Andrea E. Neuman, William E. Thompson, GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Steven Donziger, Pro Se and Attorney for Defendant Donziger & Associates, PLLC.

Julio Gomez, GOMEZ LLC, Attorney for Defendants Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LEWIS A. KAPLAN, District Judge.

This case, familiarity with which is assumed, [1] is set for trial on October 15, 2013. The complaint and amended complaint sought damages and equitable relief. All parties demanded trial by jury. The relief sought, however, has changed, which raises the question whether there now is any right to a jury trial in this case.

Recent Developments

On September 8, 2013, plaintiff Chevron Corporation ("Chevron") gave

"notice that it will not seek money damages against Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje (LAP Defendants') in this action. At trial and in all other phases of this action, Chevron will seek only equitable relief against the LAP Defendants. Chevron waives all claims for money damages relief against the LAP Defendants for money damages that have accrued and are asserted in this action only." DI 1404.

It immediately took the position in its motion for a bifurcated trial that its waiver of damage claims against the LAP Defendants and its restriction of the relief sought against them to relief that would be equitable in nature eliminated any right to a jury trial with respect to its claims against the LAP Defendants and the defenses thereto. E.g., DI 1406.

On September 30, 2013, Chevron filed further:

"notice that, upon a finding from this Court under Fed.R.Civ.P. 39(a)(2) that all issues in this case will be tried by the Court: (i) Chevron will not seek money damages against Steven R. Donziger, The Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger, and Donziger & Associates, PLLC (Donziger Defendants') only in this action; (ii) at trial and in all other phases of this action, Chevron will seek only equitable relief against the
Donziger Defendants, and; (iii) Chevron will waive all claims for money damages relief against the Donziger Defendants only for money damages that have accrued and are asserted in this action only.1" DI 1469.[2]

In a telephonic Rule 16 conference on October 1, 2013, Chevron's counsel stated that it is Chevron's position that it does not and will not seek, and waives, any claim to money damages against the Donziger Defendants in this action and that it will seek against them in this action only equitable relief.[3] At that point, the defendants asked for an opportunity to submit additional papers in support of their contention that they ...


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