Republic of Ecuador v. Hinchee, et al.

Dr. Hinchee, who resides in Florida, and Chevron appeal the district court's discovery order compelling production of Dr. Hinchee's documents to the Republic of Ecuador. Dr. Hinchee served as a testifying expert for Chevron in a related proceeding. The discovery dispute at issue stemmed from a suit brought by Ecuadorian plaintiffs alleging that Texaco's oil exploration in the Amazonian rain forest polluted private and public lands in Ecuador and that Texaco was responsible for plaintiffs' oil-related health problems and the environmental contamination of plaintiffs' property. The court concluded that Dr. Hinchee's notes and email communications with non-attorneys, including other experts, were relevant within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), and the Republic was thus entitled to discover these materials. Neither the text of Rule 26(b)(3)(A) nor its structure, history, and rationale support extending the work-product doctrine to all testifying expert materials. To the extent any attorney core opinion work-product was embedded in the 1,200 documents at issue here, Chevron and Dr. Hinchee could appropriately redact such portions. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order compelling discovery. View "Republic of Ecuador v. Hinchee, et al." on Justia Law