Patton Boggs Withdraws From Chevron Case: Business of Law

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 that an attorney from another firm, Steven Donziger, had 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 is appealing the decision.

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 yesterday. “Patton Boggs regrets its involvement in this matter.”

On April 29, Kaplan threw out Patton Boggs’s claim that 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 Ecuador 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 yesterday’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.

Lawsuit News

Brookfield Loses Trial Bid Over $519,000 Arbitration Award

Brookfield Residential Properties Inc., a land investor in the U.S., lost a bid for a trial after having been ordered to pay $519,000 to Zephyr Equities & Development LLC in an arbitration for breach of contract, according to statements from the companies and their lawyers.

Zephyr accused Brookfield of violating a contract to develop the 2,000-acre Natomas Project in Sacramento County, California, according to a statement from Zephyr yesterday. An arbitrator ruled in favor of Zephyr in April 2013, and a California superior court judge signed the judgment in February, according to the statement.

Bauer denied Brookfield’s request for a new court proceeding and also awarded Zephyr the right to 3.1 percent of gross sales from the Natomas development, Zephyr said. Brookfield has appealed the ruling, the companies said.

“Fortunately, justice has prevailed,” Adina T. Stern, a Zephyr attorney, said in the statement.

Brookfield spokesman Andrew Willis said in a statement that the company will appeal the ruling.

The case is Zephyr v. Brookfield Natomas, 30-2013-00648089-CU-JR-CJC, Superior Court of California (Orange County).

West Hollywood Fur-Sale Ban Survives Luxury Retailer’s Lawsuit

West Hollywood, California’s ban on fur sales, hailed by the Humane Society of the United States as the first in the nation, survived a federal court challenge by a luxury retailer.

The city’s ban doesn’t illegally discriminate against retailers of new clothing by allowing sales of used fur by private parties and second-hand stores, U.S. District Judge George H. King in Los Angeles said in a ruling.

The ordinance went into effect last year and Mayfair House Inc., a retailer of high-end clothing, sued.

Michael O’Connor, a lawyer for Mayfair House, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is Mayfair House Inc. v. City of West Hollywood, 13-cv-07112, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).


UBS Names Crowl as General Counsel for Americas

Michael Crowl will join UBS AG as general counsel for the Americas region and wealth management Americas on July 1. Crowl previously worked at Barclays Plc, where he held roles including general counsel, Americas.

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