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Chevron suit against Patton Boggs can go ahead, judge says

A federal judge last week struck down Patton Bogg’s claims of bad faith against Chevron but let stand counter claims alleging the D.C. law firm joined a fraud and cover up related to a $9.5 billion pollution award in Ecuador, Petro Global News said.

In February 2011, an Ecuador court held Chevron liable for pollution in the Amazon rain forest caused by Texaco before Chevron acquired it. The original verdict was about $18 billion but was later reduced to $9.5 billion.

Patton Boggs alleged in a suit that Chevron used bad faith in blocking enforcement of the Ecuardor judgment.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed all claims by Patton Boggs.

“Patton Boggs took on the uncharacteristic mission of assisting the victorious New York-based plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Donziger, in his attempts to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment . . . ” Bloomberg Business Week said.

In March, Judge Kaplan ruled that plaintiffs-lawyer Donziger used bribery and fraud to win the Ecuador pollution verdict against Chevron. The judge issued an order that stopped Donziger from trying to enforce the award in the United States.

Donziger denied wrongdoing and has appealed.

The oil company also accused Patton Boggs of joining in Donziger’s fraud and deceit by trying to enforce the tainted Ecuador judgment.

The judge last Tuesday dismissed “all of Patton Boggs’s claims against Chevron and cleared the way for the oil company to move ahead with a trial against Patton Boggs—essentially a follow-up case to the one in which Donziger was found to be corrupt,” Bloomberg said.

Chevron has asked Judge Kaplan to order Donziger to reimburse the oil company $32 million in legal fees. Judge Kaplan last week put the request on hold, pending Donziger’s appeal.

“[Judge] Kaplan will preside over the case against Patton Boggs, not a promising scenario for the Washington firm,” Bloomberg said.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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