NEW YORK, 21st January 2020 – Red Tree investments, the holder of USD 182 million defaulted loans issued by PDVSA is advancing with its summary judgment motion, once the Court refused to stay the case another 120 days as requested by PDVSA.
Red Tree commenced the litigation by filing a summons and motion for summary judgment in March 2019, but the Court stayed the case until 26th September 2019. Following the expiration of the stay, PDVSA moved for an additional 120-day stay, or, in the alternative, to defer the summary judgment motion in order to allow the company to take discovery.
PDVSA argued that they remained unable to access documents and personnel necessary to defend themselves and that the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to weigh in favour of a stay. Red Tree responded that it is uncertain when and if ever Guaido will unseat Maduro, finally allowing PDVSA to get access to the documents they claim the need. The plaintiff argued that they continue to be prejudiced by the delay in the litigation and that further delay may impact its ability to recover any judgment.
In May, the Court concluded that interests weighed in favour of a stay. However, this weight has shifted since then. The Court now thinks the defendant has had a considerable amount of time to securing access to relevant facts and that it is not clear that any amount of additional time will allow them to access the information they need. Moreover, the Court said that while it is mindful of the political upheaval and economic crisis Venezuela is currently experiencing, “it would not be appropriate or fair to the plaintiff to stay this case indefinitely until the transition is completed.”
Following these arguments, in 15th January 2020 the Court denied PDVSA’s motion for additional stay and requested the parties to submit a joint letter proposing a briefing schedule for discovery by 21st January, or if the defendant chooses not to do so, submit a joint letter proposing a briefing schedule for the summary judgment.