The Chevron Ecuador case, which really should be called the “Tex-Pet Ecuador” case since Chevron was not operating in Ecuador at the time and up to Texaco’s departure in 1992, has produced another new and interesting development: U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has refused the request of the Patton Boggs lawfirm to be recused from submitting documents as part of the discovery phase in Chevron’s own lawsuit against Steven Donziger, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs who have sued Chevron in what is called the Lago Agrio v. Chevron case.
This blogger has long contended that Mr. Donziger has seen the lawsuit has his personal road to billions in personal wealth, and he has said as much:
In rejecting Patton Boggs’s request, Judge Lapham has issued a full history of the case, and also extensively explained why he believes Chevron has a good reason to assert that fraud was committed by the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio v. Chevron case. Here’s that part of the 73-page opinion, the full text of which you can read below, later in this blog post. As a note “the LAPs” refer to the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio v. Chevron case, which includes most notably Steven Donziger:
Chevron has established at least probable cause to believe there was fraud or other criminal activity in the procurement of the Judgment and in other respects relating to the Lago Agrio litigation in which that Judgment was rendered and in certain litigations in the United States relating to the Ecuadorian litigation. Without alluding here to the entirety of its showing, there is probable case to suspect, and often stronger evidence,that:
• Representatives of the LAPs bribed the Ecuadorian judge to obtain the result they wanted and, as part of the deal, wrote the Judgment to which the judge put his name. Indeed, there is substantial evidence corroborating this assertion, not least of it the fact that significant parts of the Judgment match – word-for-word – internal work product documents of the LAPs that never were publicly filed in the Lago Agrio case. This latter evidence alone at least gives rise to probable cause to conclude that whoever wrote the Judgment had access to and copied non-record materials that originated with the LAPs.
• At an earlier stage of the Lago Agrio litigation, representatives of the LAPs coerced
the then-presiding Ecuadorian judge to terminate judicial inspections of alleged pollution sites, to replace that process with a global expert charged with making an independent evaluation, and to appoint the LAPs’ candidate, Richard Stalin Cabrera Vega (“Cabrera”), to that position. They did so by threatening him with a judicial misconduct complaint if he did not accede to their wishes.
• The report that Cabrera ultimately submitted in fact was planned and written, at least
in major part and quite possibly entirely, by lawyers and consultants retained on behalf of the LAPs though it was signed by Cabrera and filed as if it were his independent work. LAP representatives, moreover, took a number of steps to create or reinforce the entirely inaccurate contention that the Cabrera report was the unbiased work of an independent expert when, in fact, it had been the work of the LAPs’ representatives themselves and was not independent in the slightest respect.
• Once the improprieties surrounding Cabrera began to come to light, the LAPs or their representatives then obstructed justice and committed fraud in at least one Section 1782 proceeding in the United States by submitting to a court in Colorado a deceptive account of the LAPs’ relationship with Cabrera.
• At a still earlier stage of the lawsuit in Ecuador, the LAPs filed two site inspection
reports with the trial court over the signature of one of their experts that the expert
neither adopted nor agreed with. The evidence readily gives rise to the inference
that the LAP lawyers wrote the reports, affixed the expert’s signature to them in the
knowledge that they did not reflect his views, and filed them.
This is the strongest printed argument any judge involved in the Chevron Ecuador case has made against the “LAP’s” as Judge Kaplan calls them. But then he follows that up with a full history of the case that’s required reading for anyone who is interested in the truth behind the assertion by this blogger that Tex-Pet, what’s now called Chevron, did clean the lands used for oil production, and that Petroecuador, the “Pet” part of Tex-Pet, has been responsible for hundreds of oil spills since 1992, yet has never paid for the enormous damage to the land and to the lives of the people there.
Here’s the full opinion: