| | | Effective PR

Judge denies contents of pressure group press release

Editorial Staff

The Amazon Defense (sic) Coalition (ADC) is a pressure group that doesn't just wash its dirty linen in public, it makes a point of waving it around so as many people as possible see it. The ADC is a largely amorphous group claiming "a group of Amazonian grass roots organizations and communities who have joined to defend and sustain our peoples and environment through unification of our forces and the integration of the entire Ecuadorian Amazon."

The group is " currently involved in prosecuting Chevron Oil in an Ecuadorian court for its devastating pollution of the Amazon region which affected 30,000 rainforest residents. The case is potentially the biggest environmental litigation ever brought against a multi-national corporation." But....

The Californian law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP is being extraordinarily measured in its response to a press release from the ADC.

Gibson Dunn represent Chevron in an action in a US Federal Court case being heard in Colorado: Chevron v Stratos Consulting.

On 22 November this year, ADC issued a press release saying that Gibson Dunn and Chevron were "sanctioned" by the Judge. The following day, the Judge, Magistrate Michael Hegarty, took the unusual step of issuing his own press release. He made it clear that he did not "sanction" anyone and, specifically said "the Court denied the [plaintiff's] motion to the extent it sought sanctions."

Gibson Dunn say "While the denial of sanctions was always clear from the Court's 15 November order, Amazon Defense Coalition's press release instead made knowingly false and defamatory statements to the public that Chevron and its lawyers had been "sanctioned" and "violated bar rules." Worse yet, even in light of the unequivocal statement in the 23 November order that the request for sanctions had been denied and no sanction had ever been imposed, the Amazon Defense Coalition has not taken appropriate steps to correct the dissemination of this knowing falsehood in the media or in their federal court filings."

That's going to pose a problem: ADC's tactics involve distributing to a large number of sympathetic websites. However, within 24 hours of the Gibson Dunn press release, there was no sign of the allegations on the ADC's primary website. But it remained live at the service of PR Newswire.

Which is bizarre because that's where Gibson Dunn has issued its own statement.