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In re Aguinda
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
241 F.3d 194 (2001)
Maria Aguinda and many other citizens of Ecuador and Peru (plaintiffs) sued alleging Texaco, Inc. (defendant) polluted their rainforests and rivers. After Judge Rakoff dismissed, the claimants appealed, and the Second Circuit remanded. Meanwhile, Judge Rakoff attended an expense-paid seminar on environmental issues. The claimants moved to disqualify Judge Rakoff, arguing his attendance created an appearance of impropriety. The nonprofit organizations that sponsored the seminar were not litigants, but one received a small portion of general funding from Texaco. A former Texaco chief executive officer also spoke at the seminar, which arguably had a pro-development, anti-environmental-protection slant. Judge Rakoff said that neither the seminar discussions nor his informal conversations while attending had any bearing on the case and denied the request for disqualification. The claimants appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)
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