Perspectiva Chevron

Chevron V. Donziger: The Epic Battle For The Rule Of Law Hits The Second Circuit

Forbes 21/04/2015

Getty Images

Getty Images

Readers of this column are already quite familiar with this saga. In March 2014 I described Chevron’s American counter-attack against attorney Steven Donziger, who had been lead plaintiffs’ lawyer in a massive suit against Chevron in Ecuador for pollution allegedly caused by Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) in the Lago Agrio region of that country. Judge Kaplan had painstakingly concluded that the litigation against Chevron was marred by fraud and corruption, orchestrated in large part by Donziger himself. Judge Kaplan found that the plaintiffs’ team used bribes to arrange for the ghostwriting of a a pivotal court expert’s report, several court orders, and the multibillion-dollar court judgment itself, which held Chevron liable for oil pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon despite an earlier release by the Ecuadorean government.

Kaplan issued an injunction, under the RICO statute, against enforcement of the Ecuadorean judgment corruptly obtained by Donziger.

Then in September 2014 I described the excellent reporting by Michael Goldhaber on the case – Goldhaber had been sympathetic to the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, and his condemnation of their perversion of the Rule of Law was therefore all the more persuasive.

There is now additional news. Judge Kaplan’s ruling was appealed by Donziger to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case on April 20. Herewith some background to that hearing, and a brief description of the proceedings.

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