Wall Street Journal – Editorial – Legal Fraud of the Century – Steven Donziger’s tort raid on Chevron was ‘dishonest and corrupt.‘
“There are plenty of candidates for that title [legal fraud of the century], but after Tuesday the prize belongs to attorney Steven Donziger. Federal judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the environmental activist had engaged in a massive racketeering scheme and declared that a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in an Ecuadorian court cannot be enforced in the United States….
“Chevron refused to give in, and now the case may serve as an example of how companies can fight back if they have the nerve and the cash. Mr. Donziger says he’ll appeal, but on the factual record he stands discredited. Another worthy casualty may be financially strapped Washington law firm Patton Boggs, which got involved on behalf of Burford Capital’s effort to provide litigation financing to the plaintiffs. Tuesday’s opinion means the firm won’t collect any plunder, which couldn’t happen to a nicer crowd.
Law360 – Ecuadoreans’ $9.5B Chevron Pollution Award Forever Tainted
“Any court looking at this judgment will view it as radioactive, and it will be very difficult to enforce against Chevron,” Coles said. “The court’s decision is a very clear statement that this judgment was obtained by corrupt means, and once a court finds that, it’s hard to see why a separate court would want to enforce it.” - Anthony Coles, DLA Piper
National Association of Manufacturers
“Manufacturers welcome this ruling that puts the facts and the law above false allegations and lack of due process. In Chevron v. Donziger, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the extraordinary finding that the multibillion damage award leveled by an Ecuadorian court against Chevron was the product of fraud and racketeering.”
Forbes – Federal Court: Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Can Be Prosecuted Using Racketeering Laws Originally Intended For Mobsters
“Thus, Judge Kaplan properly applied RICO in Chevron v. Donziger because, as Judge Kaplan found, Mr. Donziger and his co-defendants formed a racketeering enterprise through which they repeatedly committed a litany of predicate offenses.
“Hopefully Chevron v. Donziger will prevent future asbestos-type mass litigation disasters through its powerful message to plaintiff’s attorneys in the mass-tort litigation business: litigate by the rules, or face serious consequences.” - John Shu, attorney who served in administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush
Bloomberg Businessweek – Chevron’s RICO Victory Provides a Model for Other Companies
“Those of us who have followed the case can’t say we’re surprised. We hope it will encourage other defendant companies that have been victimized by fraudulent lawsuits to fight back with RICO suits of their own.” - Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association
Law360 – Chevron Writes Playbook For Escaping Overseas Judgments
“What they care about is they can now take this to all of the other courts around the world with a U.S. court ruling finding fraud,” Percival said. “That’s what they wanted, because the U.S. judiciary is so well-respected around the world.” - University of Maryland Carey School of Law professor Robert Percival
New York Times – Big Victory for Chevron Over Claims in Ecuador
“It means Chevron is in the clear with a few qualifications. American courts are likely to recognize the impact of Judge Kaplan’s order unless and until an appeals court rules otherwise. It may also lead foreign courts to take a second look at the enforceability of the Ecuador judgment.” - Ralph G. Steinhardt, professor of law and international affairs at George Washington University
Bloomberg – Chevron Wins Ruling Ecuador Judgment Was Devil’s Deal
Kaplan’s detailed findings will make winning an appeal more difficult, said Cassandra Burke Robertson, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who has followed the case. “The appellate court would have to conclude that the district court’s finding is clearly erroneous, which is a very hard standard to meet,” Robertson said. “Donziger definitely has an uphill battle to seek reversal.” - Cassandra Burke Robertson, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University
Ronald D. Rotunda, co-author of Legal Ethics: The Lawyer’s Deskbook on Professional Responsibility (ABA Thomson-Reuters, 2014)
“Judge Kaplan’s decision today is a watershed of tort law. The judge found that the defendant, lawyer Steven Donziger, conspired to injure through a pattern of racketeering activity, which injured Chevron to the tune of billions of dollars. In fact, the judge used the word “racketeering” 54 times in his opinion.”
John S. Baker, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University Law School
“Even without the evidence of fraud in the Chevron case, the Ecuadorean judgment should not be enforced in the US. Ecuador and a few other Latin American countries have enacted statutes aimed at American corporations that, by their terms, clearly violate general notions of due process. Chevron would not have had to file a RICO statute if the US had a federal statute governing enforcement of foreign judgments. Unfortunately, this important issue of our relations with other countries has been left to state law, which federal courts generally must follow when asked to enforce a foreign judgment. That means, absent an offensive strategy like the one that Chevron pursued, victorious foreign plaintiffs can choose the most lenient law from the fifty states in their attempts to enforce a judgment from abroad that may violate due process. American corporations need to understand that the Chevron case has significance for every American corporation doing business abroad. Congress should pay attention and enact a single statute governing the enforcement of all foreign judgments.”
Michael Krauss, Professor of Tort Law and Legal Ethics at George Mason University School of Law
“The evidence of corruption of the Ecuadorian judicial system was overwhelming, in my opinion. Judge Kaplan’s decision is a victory for the Rule of Law. I now look forward to Chevron’s RICO claim being adjudicated, and to the American lawyers who connived in this corruption to be punished appropriately (i.e., severely).”