Patton Boggs LLP agreed to pay $15 million to settle Chevron Corp’s lawsuit over the law firm’s involvement in obtaining a $9.5 billion judgment against the oil company in Ecuador. Patton Boggs also agreed to withdraw from the Ecuador litigation.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York on March 4 ruled an attorney from another firm, Steven Donziger, resorted to bribery and fraud in procuring the Chevron judgment in Ecuador that held the oil company liable for polluting the Amazon rain forest. Donziger has appealed the judge’s findings.
Kaplan’s ruling “includes a number of factual findings about matters which would have materially affected our firm’s decision to become involved and stay involved as counsel,” Patton Boggs said in a statement today. “Patton Boggs regrets its involvement in this matter.”
On April 29, Kaplan threw out Patton Boggs’s claim San Ramon, California-based Chevron maliciously sued the firm for pursuing collection of the judgment. The law firm, which provided as much as $15 million to finance the Ecuadoran litigation, had sought access to $21.8 million Chevron had been ordered to post as a bond.
“We are pleased that Patton Boggs is ending its association with the fraudulent and extortionate Ecuador litigation scheme,” Chevron General Counsel Hewitt Pate said in today’s statement. “Chevron encourages others to disassociate themselves from this fraud.”
The law firm’s case is Patton Boggs LLP v. Chevron Corp., 12-cv-09176, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The racketeering case is Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 11-cv-00691 in the same court.