Caso Chevron

Steven Donziger, Disbarred Former Attorney, Is Held in Contempt of Court

Forbes - Michael I. Krauss 23/05/2019

I've detailed the civil contempt of court motion against Steven Donziger in prior columns.  So it's very pleasing to read United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan's remarkable, 75-page, contempt of court ruling.  It begins with these words:  "Steven Donziger, formerly a lawyer, has led a corrupt effort to extort billions of dollars from Chevron Corporation."

After that devastating introduction, things only got worse.  Donziger, whose "corrupt effort" has been described in this column, is now in contempt of court for blatantly and willfully violating Judge Kaplan's orders.  Those orders enjoined Donziger from continuing to personally profit from what Judge Kaplan termed "the fraudulent procurement of a multibillion judgment from a provincial court in Ecuador (the “Ecuador Judgment”)."

Here's the link to Judge Kaplan's full contempt decision.  In it the judge details Donziger's continuing receipt (to the tune of over $1 million since the issuance of the injunction) of moneys in return for "shares" of the Ecuador judgment, the enforcement of which has been obstructed in every country in which Donziger has attempted to collect. [Proceedings are ongoing in the Ontario, where in any case Chevron has no assets. I am certain that this abuse of the Canadian province's judicial system will prove futile.]

Donziger is no longer an attorney, as Judge Kaplan noted. He has been suspended from the practice of law in the State of New York, (see Matter of Donziger, 163 A.D.3d 123, 80 N.Y.S.3d 269 (1st Dept. 2018), in the District of Columbia (see Matter of Donziger, No. 18-BG-967 (D.C. App. filed Sept. 20, 2018) [DI 2091-68, 2091-69], and in the Southern District of New York.  I know of no other jurisdiction where he is authorized to practice law.  As a non-lawyer, he can only represent himself. Thus, he may no longer represent Donziger & Associates, PLLC (his former law firm) or any other person or entity who partnered with him in the Ecuadorean scheme.

Donziger is finished, and the fact that a few credulous folks continued to advance him funds in reliance on the corrupt Ecuadorean judgment confirms P.T. Barnum's ageless adage.  In any case, Donziger must now purge his contempt by remitting all funds he has obtained with respect to the Ecuadorean suit to Chevron. If he does not do so by May 28, Donziger will be subject to other sanctions (criminal contempt?) in addition to "a coercive civil fine [payable] to the Clerk of Court." The fine will "begin at $2,000 for May 28, 2019 and shall double for each subsequent day during which Donziger fails fully to purge himself of this contempt."  Check out the factorial table for 2 and you will get an idea of Donziger's exposure.  And there is no guarantee that people related to Donziger, including his wife (to whom Donziger directly transferred substantial sums), are not themselves in serious legal jeopardy.

Fuente Original