Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million

HUGE:
Following Chevron’s win in the fraud case committed against them, Chevron and Patton Boggs settle their epic legal battle over jungle oil pits in Ecuador

Chevron and Patton Boggs have settled disputes linked to long-running litigation over toxic drilling waste pits in Ecuador, with Patton Boggs agreeing to pay Chevron $15 million, issue a statement of regret, and withdraw from the Ecuador case. Chevron agreed to release all claims against Patton Boggs and its partners.

The settlement is a stunning and highly unusual setback for any law firm, let alone the nation’s leading lobbying firm, long a bedrock of the Washington establishment. While the payment will cover only a tiny portion of the money Chevron has spent on the legal battle, the settlement overall tarnishes the reputation of Patton Boggs.

I know of no other instance where a top lobbying law firm has settled publicly in such terms, particularly when

Now, as part of the settlement with Chevron, Patton Boggs has agreed to assign its 5 percent interest in any money the plaintiffs might obtain. It also agreed to assist Chevron with discovery against the Ecuadorian plaintiffs and their New York-based lawyer Steven Donziger, who has been doggedly fighting Chevron for more than two decades and who Chevron has argued was part of a racketeering scheme to obtain a fraudulent judgment.

Daniel Fisher at Forbes puts it best: Patton Boggs Pays Chevron $15 Million To Rid Itself Of Donziger

The settlement, down to the humiliating, pre-negotiated press release, resembles deals Chevron has negotiated with London-based Burford Capital and other parties that assisted New York attorney Steven Donziger in his attempt to make the oil company pay for widespread pollution left over from a Texaco drilling program in Ecuador in the 1970s and 1980s.

Law firms are rarely found liable for tactics they use to zealously represent their clients, and multimillion-dollar settlements are even rarer. Perhaps more unusual is the law firm’s agreement to deliver partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger to Gibson Dunn’s New York offices for depositions overseen by a court-appointed special master. The firm has also agreed to turn over documents, provided its former clients don’t prevail on challenges under the attorney-client privilege.

Maybe, just maybe this will give pause to anyone considering to engage in fraudulent legalfare against U.S. corporations.

Related:
Why Patton Boggs Has Come to Regret Picking a Fight With Chevron

A federal judge in New York has dismissed a suit Patton Boggs filed against Chevron (CVX), which accused the oil giant of bad faith in response to the law firm’s attempt to enforce a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment in Ecuador. While the fizzling of the Patton Boggs case by itself might not seem significant, the dismissal leaves behind Chevron’s counter claims against the law firm, in which the oil company accuses the Washington partnership of participating in a massive fraud and coverup related to that same Ecuadorian judgment.

I’lll be in Silvio Canto’s podcast tonight at 8PM Eastern to talk about this and other Latin American news.

UPDATE:
Paul M. Barrett writing for Business Week:

In nearly three decades of writing about the law business, I can’t think of a comparable retreat.

Linked to by Doug Ross. Thank you!

Linked to by Instapundit. Thank you, Ed Discoll!

Linked to by Bad Blue. Thank you!

Linked to by American Thinker. Thank you!

Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion‘s post of the day. Thank you! Understatement of the year: “Chevron must have really good lawyers.”


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7 Responses to “Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million”

  1. NewsSprocket | Larwyn’s Linx: Congress to Investigate Potential Obama Crackdown on Drudge, Hannity Says:

    [...] Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million: FaustaWhite House Memo Blaming Video was Sent to Muslim Brotherhood Operative: Daniel GreenfieldShoplifting while Muslim not a crime in New York City: Creeping [...]

  2. Kermit Says:

    Chevron was involved due its acquisition of part of Texaco. Texaco was a minor partner with the Ecuadorian government to develop and produce oil there. Any wrongdoing was at the request of the government.

  3. J G Says:

    “Maybe, just maybe this will give pause to anyone considering to engage in fraudulent legalfare against U.S. corporations.”

    It’s not U.S. Corps, it’s Chevron that stood up and fought this out. U.S. Corps in general are wimps thinking nothing of principle but only of how to get out of a pickle at the least cost. That’s what Donziger hoped Chevron would do; pay up to get rid of the mess. My hat is off to Chevron for showing great moral fortitude and sticking with this for decades. It probably cost them much more than they could have settled the case for years ago.

  4. Fausta Says:

    It probably cost them much more than they could have settled the case for years ago.
    I’m not so sure about that, JG. The original judgement was $19 billion.

  5. richard40 Says:

    Good news, its about time some of these big law firm vultures got their wings clipped.

  6. Fausta Says:

    More here, richard40: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkrauss/2014/05/08/an-aftershock-of-the-chevron-ecuador-earthquake/

    An apology by Patton is a tacit admission, in other words, that Chevron’s claims against the firm were plausible, though it remains unclear whether the firm is admitting to mere negligence or to real knowledge by its partners of the fraud. The Sullivan piece identifies partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger as having been particular targets of Chevron’s suit: Chevron had claimed the two had ”engaged in systematic efforts to obstruct and delay discovery proceedings (in 2010) in order to prevent the full extent of [their] own misconduct and that of other counsel for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs from coming to light.”

  7. The Chevron settlement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean | Fausta's Blog Says:

    [...] Last week Chevron received from Patton Boggs, the former #1 lobbying law firm in the country, an apology, a $15million payment, and most remarkably, [...]