Justia U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in International Trade
In Re: Application of Chevron
After first filing claims in a U.S. district court, inhabitants of eastern Ecuador filed suit in their country, alleging that the company contaminated the area and caused residents' health problems. The company, attempting to establish fraud and collusion in the proceedings, sought discovery from the plaintiffs' attorney for use in that litigation, in criminal proceedings in Ecuador, and in arbitration initiated against the Republic of Ecuador with the United Nations. The district court granted discovery under 28 U.S.C. 1782, which provides that the court of the district in which a person is found may order him to give testimony or to produce a document or thing for use in a proceeding in a foreign tribunal, unless the disclosure would violate a legal privilege. The court concluded that attorney-client privilege had been waived because documentary film-makers had been allowed intimate access to proceedings involving the environmental litigation. The Third Circuit reversed in part, holding that the public disclosure of certain communications did not lead to "subject matter waiver" of attorney-client privilege for communications that were covered by the privilege. The court remanded for consideration of whether certain communications are discoverable pursuant to the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.
United States v. Amirnazmi
The defendant, a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Iran and a chemical engineer, marketed a dynamic software program to Iranian actors and agreed to provide Iranian entities with technology for construction of chemical plants, with a goal of converting Iran into a chemical powerhouse. His efforts included contacting President Ahmadinejad to unveil his plan to help Iran, with respect to the United States' "cruel and tyrannical" treatment of the Iranian people. He was convicted on 10 chargesâfour counts stemming from violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), three counts of making false statements, and three counts of bank fraud and sentenced to a four years imprisonment. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the constitutionality of the IEEPA and Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations. The law meaningfully constrains the President's discretion and does not violate the separation of powers doctrine. The government proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant's operation does not fall within the informational-materials exemption of the Act. The regulations are not unconstitutionally vague.