Video: Ecuador blatantly trying to defraud Chevron

posted at 7:29 pm on April 28, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

We’ve had far too much in the way of fun stories this weekend, so let’s get one more item in to get your blood pressure back into the red zone. As you may recall, various agents and legal entities (most from inside the United States) have been pursuing a extremely suspect lawsuit – to put it charitably – against Chevron for alleged environmental damage in the nation of Ecuador. (The original suit was against Texaco which Chevron took over.) One of the key players in this case is the lawyer for the plaintiffs, one Steven Donziger. We now have a video which chronicles the incredible, blatant greed and denial of reality which seems to permeate the case of Aguinda vs. Chevron and it’s a humdinger. It’s only around six minutes long and I assure you that it’s worth your time to watch. I’ll have a few of the highlights below.

Donziger is shown explaining to a group of law student interns how the game is played.

“We need to make facts that help us, and the facts that we need don’t always exist. This is another key point about litigation. You have to get the right facts. And if they don’t exist in an obvious way, you have to figure out how to go make them.”

And what of the plaintiff herself, Ms. Aguinda, who is suing for all of these damages?

Although the lawyers claim to represent 30,000 indigenous people in the equatorial Amazon, there are in fact only 48 named plaintiffs, and many of their signatures on the complaint are forged. Maria Aguinda, on whose name the suit was brought, told the “Crude” film crew that she didn’t know she was suing Chevron. The plaintiffs’ lawyers got her to sign on to the lawsuit by telling her she was signing up for free medicine.

[Translator] “In four months I will bring medications so you will be healed. But first, sign this paper here. They have made her sign. Alright? Then in four months I’ll be back.. he hasn’t come back in four months, but instead, after a year, when Manuel Pallares and attorney Cristobal Bonifaz get here, saying that you are a plaintiff in the Texaco trial, that is when she found out that she had been a plaintiff.”

Watch the entire thing to experience the full range of outrage. We’ve heard a lot about this case from the environmental groups and a lot from Chevron. But do you know who we haven’t heard much from? The White House and Congress and Washington in general. Well, with the possible exception of people like Kerry Kennedy, as Tina noted some time back. But they’re coming down on Donziger’s side.

Do you know how many jobs Chevron provides here in the United States? Not to mention all of the jobs they provide in other countries as well. And they pay the highest corporate tax rate in the nation on all of that money they bring back home. Do you suppose somebody at the White House might speak up on their behalf? No… because that might make them look like they were on the side of “Big Oil.” Can’t have that in an election year, now can we?

This entire thing stinks to high heaven.


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Donald Verrilli will be needing a new job soon, maybe he can help run the scam.

pedestrian on April 28, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Guess which side of this con Obama is on?

pat on April 28, 2012 at 7:36 PM

The leftist way.

Grunt on April 28, 2012 at 7:39 PM

…When will Steven Donziger be running as a Democratic candidate for the Senate or the House? Better yet!…when will JugEars be getting another recess appointment… to something something?

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Truth will set you free. Er ….

OldEnglish on April 28, 2012 at 7:48 PM

When will Donziger be disbarred? His license to practice should make an interesting display and tour stop at Chevron HQ.

Avenging Disco Godfather on April 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM

This case has been a scam since day one. 60 minutes’s Scott Pelley reported on it of course all on the side of the lawyers. I’ve yet to see a retraction of thier report but I stopped watching 60 minutes years ago. Pelley is such a class A liberal green nitwit.

aniptofar on April 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Question: can Chevron, when this joke of a ‘case’ reaches its inevitable conclusion, hire enough military force to tell those sticky-fingered peasants to eff off? Because the USA isn’t coming to save them; we’re too busy playing whack-a-jihadi in 6 different places.

MelonCollie on April 28, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Donziger and Patton Boggs. Need say no more.
These leftist cronies treat the Ecuadorians like rubes at best and slaves at worst.

bettycooper on April 28, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Donziger and Patton Boggs. Need say no more.
These leftist cronies treat the Ecuadorians like rubes at best and slaves at worst.

bettycooper on April 28, 2012 at 8:06 PM

*yawn*

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’ve become inured to this kind of behavior on the part of leftist trial lawyers. It’s the plaintiff’s lawyers that make the big bucks, and if the plaintiffs are lucky, after the sharks and leeches take their shares, they might end up with $100 USD apiece…maybe. I’m not surprised. Not at all.

gryphon202 on April 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

If this attempt to extort money from Chevron fails, anyone want to guess the chances of the holdings in Ecuador being nationalized ALA Venezuela and Argentina?

Snake307 on April 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Maria Aguinda, on whose name the suit was brought, told the “Crude” film crew that she didn’t know she was suing Chevron. The plaintiffs’ lawyers got her to sign on to the lawsuit by telling her she was signing up for free medicine.

So have they been sending their “client” regular updates on her multi-billion dollar case…?

That’s just the tiniest example: the whole system is nothing but a rotting, festering can of worms. All you have to do is pick any one corruption of process at random, and it’ll lead you to a thousand more.

I wasn’t around when all this same stuff was going on in the Seventies. It’s actually very instructive. This is the point where a liberal government officially turns Socialist: when they can finally no longer credibly PRETEND to follow due process.

logis on April 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM

the sad joke is that the Founders kinda thought that a free press would unearth political corruption. After all, corruption exists everywhere, political malfeasance is everywhere there is a pol…but with a free press, that is a diverse press carrying out their own interests would shine a light

but instead we get lap-poodles like Pelley

r keller on April 28, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Latino Pigford

Wigglesworth on April 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

The job of a plaintiff’s lawyer is not to make money, as Donziger put it. It’s to take other people’s money.

wte9 on April 28, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Most trial lawyers, like union bosses, are pure scum…and among the largest contributors to the Democrat Party.

mydh12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Hey you forgot to thank Hollywood for numerous portrayals of Big Oil as evil villains, that was before they decided to portray the CIA as always framing Muslims. Thank you Hollywood, thank you hippie dope smoking white college going munky flappers… :: ))

Observation on April 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

COMMUNISTS of Ecuador, the ones who financed and supported FARC terrorists “nationalized”… STOLE… the American Oil companies investments and then demanded payment for damages that are the consequence of Equadorian mismanagement if they exist at all.

DANEgerus on April 28, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I think it’s worse than that Obama doesn’t want appear to be on the side of “Big Oil”, I don’t think he’s on the side of America, which he would rather see brought down to rebuild into some kind of socialist state and part of a socialist world order.

Chessplayer on April 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM

This is what GREEN is really all about.

This is just another example of a eco-fascist shake-down.

Axion on April 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Donziger is a filthy bag of excrement. Here’s hoping that he loses in epic fashion, is disbarred, and finds himself in a nearly deserted disco in Quito with some angry locals some time soon.

Jaibones on April 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM

This has been going around for a while.

If I were in the White House I’d have suspended Ecuador’s MFN status about two years ago.

JEM on April 28, 2012 at 11:27 PM

“We need to make facts that help us, and the facts that we need don’t always exist. This is another key point about litigation. You have to get the right facts. And if they don’t exist in an obvious way, you have to figure out how to go make them.” – Steven Donziger, lawyer suing Chevron

And here I thought Truth was Truth. Funny that!

NTxOkie on April 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM

I had an interesting 41 years doing battle with our country’s “trial lawyers,” who really are the “plaintiffs’ lawyers.” Some of them appeared to be more honorable than this jerk.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 28, 2012 at 11:48 PM

How is this different from 99 per cent of the cases in this country?

Lawyers are scum. Shocking revelation.

rickyricardo on April 29, 2012 at 1:10 AM

Filthy ambulance chasers.

itsspideyman on April 29, 2012 at 2:54 AM

I am an attorney. Not all attorneys are a douche bags. However, Steven Donziger is just as unethical as the district attorney Mike Nifong was in the Duke lacrosse false rape case.

I hope Donziger’s case goes down in flames and liberal law professors have to teach about this case for years to come.

Conservative Samizdat on April 29, 2012 at 2:58 AM

Donziger is an embarassment and makes me ashamed to be an attorney.

grimble grumble on April 29, 2012 at 5:17 AM

the sad joke is that the Founders kinda thought that a free press would unearth political corruption. After all, corruption exists everywhere, political malfeasance is everywhere there is a pol…but with a free press, that is a diverse press carrying out their own interests would shine a light

but instead we get lap-poodles like Pelley

r keller on April 28, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I wonder if this is the reason the founders also were against the idea of political parties.

Odysseus on April 29, 2012 at 7:06 AM

I am an attorney. Not all attorneys are a douche bags. However, Steven Donziger is just as unethical as the district attorney Mike Nifong was in the Duke lacrosse false rape case.

I hope Donziger’s case goes down in flames and liberal law professors have to teach about this case for years to come.

Conservative Samizdat on April 29, 2012 at 2:58 AM

Problem is, Donziger and Nifong aren’t the only lawyers over the years who have brought their profession disrepute. Scott Harshbarger presided over the prosecution of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in my lifetime, and I’m sure you could dig up other less notorious cases of prosecutorial railroading…like the Trayvon Martin case, for example.

I figure lawyer jokes are funny because, like all good humor, they have a seed of truth in them.

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM

The problem all began because Texaco was a minor partner in a partnership with the Government. Sounds a lot like BHopal where the Indian government was the major partner and calling all the shots.

Kermit on April 29, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Donziger needs a very long stay in a very small cell with a very large room-mate. Miserable excuse for a human being.

Tomolena1 on April 29, 2012 at 6:08 PM

This is what some might call a shakedown.

One Chevron spokesman has said, “We’re going to fight this until Hell freezes over—and then we’ll fight it out on the ice.”

diogenes on April 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Problem is, Donziger and Nifong aren’t the only lawyers over the years who have brought their profession disrepute. Scott Harshbarger presided over the prosecution of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in my lifetime, and I’m sure you could dig up other less notorious cases of prosecutorial railroading…like the Trayvon Martin case, for example.

I figure lawyer jokes are funny because, like all good humor, they have a seed of truth in them.

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM

I don’t dispute that Donziger and Nifong aren’t the only attorneys who are evil. There are lots and lots of attorneys like these men out there.

However, there are great attorneys who do good work. When it comes to conservative lawyers who fight for conservative causes, the The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are good law firms with good lawyers in them.

Sadly, I applied to both organizations and never heard back from them. :(

Conservative Samizdat on April 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM

It’s a good thing that this sort of thing doesn’t happen in the United States.

shick on April 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM

It’s a good thing that this sort of thing doesn’t happen in the United States.

shick on April 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Actually, it does. You just don’t hear about often.

Conservative Samizdat on April 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM