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Harry Cassin
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Donziger appeals RICO verdict in Chevron case

New York plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger has appealed a civil racketeering verdict against him growing out of a disputed $9.5 billion environmental award he won against Chevron, Petro Global News said Monday.

In 2011, after two decades of litigation, an Ecuadorean judge found Chevron liable for pollution damage in the Amazon rain forest.

The Ecuador court ordered Chevron to pay indigenous tribes $18 billion. The award was later reduced to $9.5 billion.

Chevron denied all liability and sued the plaintiffs’ lawyer Donziger in U.S. federal court, alleging he used fraud and bribery to win the verdict in Ecuador.

Donziger, pictured above, has denied the allegations.

In March, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in favor of Chevron. He barred Donziger from trying to enforce the Ecuador award.

Donziger filed an appellate brief Wednesday that said Chevron’s allegations “have nothing to do with the Ecuadorian judgment that Chevron is attacking.”

The brief argued that the Ecuador award was reached in a way fully consistent with the nation’s civil-law system, with proper reviews and protection of Chevron’s rights.

Donziger is also arguing that Judge Kaplan “overstepped his bounds and lacked jurisdiction to hear the case,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a statement, Chevron said Donziger and others were found to have “committed racketeering, extortion, money laundering, wire fraud” and other violations.

“We are confident that the judgment against them will be upheld,” Chevron said.

In May, Washington, DC law firm Patton Boggs paid Chevron $15 million to settle claims related to its efforts to help Donziger collect the Ecuador pollution award.

Two weeks later, the 400-lawyer firm announced that it would merge with Cleveland-based Squire Sanders.


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

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