Bowoto et al v. Chevron Corporation et al

Filing 2244


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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 v. CHEVRON CORPORATION ET AL, Defendant. / BOWOTO ET AL, Plaintiff, No. C 99-02506 SI FURTHER ORDER RE: TRIAL PARTICIPANTS' COMMUNICATIONS WITH PRESS DURING PENDENCY OF TRIAL IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA EarthRights International (ERI) seeks clarification from this Court regarding its November 7, 2008 order [Docket No. 2069] barring trial participants from communicating with the press about the trial of Bowoto v. Chevron Corporation while the trial is pending. Marco Simons, an ERI employee, is listed as an attorney of record in this case. Mr. Simons has appeared at counsel table during this trial and identified himself as "trial counsel" when he testified. The Court's prohibition on communications with the press clearly applies to Mr. Simons. ERI seeks clarification on whether the prohibition applies to the rest of ERI. ERI describes itself as a "multidisciplinary advocacy and legal organization" consisting of about 30 employees. See ERI Letter Brief, at 4-5. [Docket No. 2076] According to ERI's bylaws, the organization's "law firm" is comprised of all U.S.-licensed attorneys in the organization's legal program as well as the staff on its legal committee. See id., at 5. ERI argues the "law firm" is organizationally distinct from the rest of ERI. ERI has made no showing, however, that there is any screening mechanism in place to segregate ERI's "law firm" from the rest of its employees. Accordingly, on this record the Court finds that ERI as a whole represents plaintiffs and is therefore a "trial participant" for the purposes of the Court's November 7 Order. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 In light of this finding, the Court offers the following guidance to ERI on the issues raised in its November 10 letter brief: The order applies to all communications about the case to the media The order prohibits public statements about the case ERI lists eleven activities on page 6 of its letter brief. All of these activities are prohibited until the trial is over. ERI may comment on the case on a private basis to anyone who is not a member of the news media, including donors, members of Congress and their staff, other members of the U.S. government, law professors, law school classes or other lawyers ERI may not comment to the media on an embargoed basis The order is in effect until the Phase II verdict, if any, is returned. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 11/21/08 SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge 2

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