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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Racketeering Suit Proceeds Against Attorney

Judge Narrows Claims in Chevron Lawsuit
The Wall Street Journal by Chad Bray - May 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY — A federal judge narrowed Chevron Corp.'s CVX -0.73% claims in its racketeering lawsuit against a lawyer involved in long-running environmental litigation against the company.  Last year, an Ecuadorean court issued a $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron over environmental damage in that country's Amazon region. The environmental claims relate to alleged oil damage by Texaco Inc., which Chevron acquired in 2001.  Chevron, in a separate lawsuit in the U.S., claims the environmental litigation is little more than an elaborate shakedown scheme and has accused the Ecuadorean plaintiffs and their lawyers of manufacturing evidence and improperly influencing the Ecuadorean court.  On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan allowed the racketeering and state law claims by Chevron to continue against Steven Donziger, the Ecuadoreans' U.S. legal adviser, but dismissed other claims, including tortious interference.  "As the Donziger defendants have not recovered on the judgment to date, the unjust enrichment claim is premature at best," the judge said. "It cannot be said at this point that the Donziger defendants have been enriched—unjustly or otherwise—especially considering that none of Chevron's assets have been seized to satisfy the judgment, and the Donziger defendants have yet to receive any contingent fees."  Separately, the judge denied a request by Chevron for an order attaching more than $700 million in assets in order to cover potential damages in its racketeering case.  "Today's order affirms the core premise of Chevron's RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] and fraud case," a Chevron spokesman said. "We are eager to progress our racketeering case and remain resolute in our efforts to hold the perpetrators of this unprecedented fraud and misconduct accountable."  Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs, said, "Judge Kaplan's decisions to deny Chevron attachment and to throw out several fraud claims represent yet another setback for the oil company and its shareholders."  A lawyer for Mr. Donzinger didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. Write to Chad Bray at chad.bray@wsj.com

RELATED STORY:

Chevron Racketeering Suit Proceeds Against Attorney
The New York Law Journal by Mark Hamblett  -  May 15, 2012

Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan yesterday refused to dismiss the racketeering lawsuit brought by Chevron alleging that a multi-billion dollar environmental damages judgment secured against the oil giant in Ecuador was secured by a fraud committed by Ecuadoran plaintiffs, New York attorney Steven Donziger and others.  But Kaplan somewhat trimmed the case of Chevron v Donziger, 11 Civ. 0691, by dismissing some state law claims, including one that he ruled was "premature": Chevron's assertion that Donziger and the co-called Lago Agrio plaintiffs would be unjustly enriched as a result of the judgment.  In a 53-page opinion, Kaplan let stand claims by Chevron of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, part of a claim in fraud to the extent it alleges detrimental reliance by Chevron, a state law claim for civil conspiracy alleging the Ecuadoran plaintiffs and Donziger conspired to commit substantive state law violations and a claim that Donziger violated §487 of the New York Judiciary Law. In a separate seven-page ruling, Judge Kaplan declined to grant Chevron an order of attachment against Donziger to secure the recoverability of damages under RICO.

4 comments:

in the know.... said...

We need more RICO lawsuits against lawyers. Think: FINANCIAL CRISIS and how lawyers failed their duty to report wrongdoings.

Anonymous said...

Environmental lawsuits are a cash cow for lawyers and environmentalists. As expected, a NY lawyer has his snout in the trough. The difference between paying off judges in Ecuador or in New York, is that the NY Times and the media will report payoffs and charges of corruption of judges in Ecuador, while deliberately ignoring them for New York Federal and State courts. The lawyer and all his buddies including those hiding under environmental cloaks need RICO civil and criminal penalties imposed. The people are supposed to respect the lawyer, the judge or the environmentalist because of their outward cloaks. Lord Acton of power corrupts said, "There is no worse heresy than that the office [lawyer, judge, environmentalist] sanctifies the holder of it.”

Joseujbz said...

We need more RICO lawsuits against lawyers. Think: FINANCIAL CRISIS and how lawyers failed their duty to report wrongdoings.

Joefyjr said...

We need more RICO lawsuits against lawyers. Think: FINANCIAL CRISIS and how lawyers failed their duty to report wrongdoings.

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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