U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Contempt Rulings Against Disbarred Lawyer Behind Fraudulent Ecuadorian Lawsuit

SOURCE: Chevron Corporation


SAN RAMON, Calif., March 12, 2021 /3BL Media/ – The United States Court of Appeals for the Second  Circuit today affirmed multiple findings of civil contempt against disbarred attorney Steven Donziger, effectively bringing to a close his campaign to profit from the fraudulent Ecuadorian  judgment he procured in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act.  

As the Second Circuit today observed, it has been finally adjudicated that Donziger “fraudulently  procured the Ecuadorian Judgment against Chevron through a pattern of racketeering activity.” The court also noted “Donziger, among other things, bribed the presiding judge to enter a  judgment in his clients’ favor in exchange for $500,000 of the judgment’s proceeds; coerced the  court to appoint a hand-picked expert whom Donziger paid for favorable testimony; and ghost wrote the Ecuadorian Judgment.” In 2020, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, disbarred Donziger for “egregious professional misconduct, namely, corruption of a court expert  and ghostwriting his report, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and judicial coercion.”  

In today’s ruling, the Second Circuit agreed with “the district court’s conclusions that Donziger  acted in contempt of the Injunction that resulted from the RICO Judgment in numerous ways,”  including Donziger’s failure to transfer his interest in the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment to  Chevron, transferring a portion of his interest in the judgment in exchange for personal services,  transferring and dissipating his assets in violation of his obligations as a judgment debtor, and  disregarding discovery orders. The court noted that for the most part Donziger did “not even  attempt to challenge the district court’s findings of his contumacious conduct.” The court  reversed other aspects of the district court’s rulings and remanded the case to the district court  for determination of the amount of fees Donziger owes Chevron.

The decision rejects Donziger’s attempts to circumvent the RICO judgment. The Second Circuit  ruled that, going forward, Donziger “can no longer sell any interests in the Ecuadorian Judgment  for any reason, and use the proceeds for his benefit . . . or profit from such sales in any way  whatsoever.” The court also upheld the district court’s award of costs against Donziger, because  “costs were sought in a litigation in which Donziger has been found liable for engaging in a  pattern of racketeering involving corruption of a foreign judiciary resulting in a multi-billion dollar  judgment.” The decision acknowledged “the district court’s thorough and fully persuasive fact  findings and legal conclusions, which [the Second Circuit] ha[s] already affirmed in full,  establishing Donziger’s violations of law and ethics that added up to a pattern of racketeering in  violation of the RICO statute.” 

U.S. courts are not alone in condemning the Ecuadorian litigation against Chevron. In a  separate proceeding, an international tribunal in The Hague previously ruled that the  Ecuadorian judgment was procured by the plaintiffs’ legal team through egregious fraud and  corruption and is therefore unenforceable under international law. The international tribunal  further rejected the environmental allegations against Chevron, holding that the corrupt  Ecuadorian judgment was based on environmental claims that had been already settled and  released by the Republic of Ecuador years earlier following the successful completion of an  environmental remediation carried out under the supervision and with the approval of the  Republic of Ecuador.  

All efforts to enforce the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment outside of Ecuador have been  rejected. Today’s decision further vindicates Chevron’s position in this long-running dispute. 

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Through its  subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the company is involved in virtually every facet of  the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas;  refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells  petrochemicals and additives; generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that  enhance business value in every aspect of the company’s operations. Chevron is based in San  Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com. 

Contact: Sean Comey, +1-925-842-5509  


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KEYWORDS: NYSE:CVX, Chevron, Equador, Steven Donziger

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