Our ongoing coverage of the Chevron Shakedown has taken us down a long and twisting road over these past few years. The prime mover in the United States behind the attempted, fraudulent theft of billions of dollars from the energy giant was New York attorney Steven Donziger. He’s had a run of bad luck since Chevron decided to fight back and exposed the fraud and corruption running rampant in Ecuador’s courts. In August we saw an earlier court decision which reaffirmed the initial finding that Donziger’s case was based on fraud and racketeering. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Donziger attempted to appeal once again, but this week the Appeals Court for the Second Circuit essentially told him to take his request for a rehearing and stick it where the sun don’t shine. (Amazon Post)
The United States Appeals Court for the Second Circuit has denied the petitions from Steven Donziger and the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs (LAPs) seeking a rehearing of an August decision in which a three judge panel unanimously affirmed the racketeering judgment against Donziger and the LAPs.
In August, 2016, The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed a lower court decision, which found that the $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corporation in Ecuador was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, and unenforceable in the United States. The appeals court stated that there was “no basis for dismissal or reversal” of the district court’s judgment, noting that “[t]he record in the present case reveals a parade of corrupt actions by the LAPs’ legal team, including coercion, fraud, and bribery, culminating in the promise to Judge Zambrano of $500,000 from a judgment in favor of the LAPs.”
This would seem to be the end of the road for Donziger and his pals, but it only applies to the United States. You might think that this is the venue that matters most, but we’re talking about an international stage here with multiple opportunities for the plaintiffs in the bogus lawsuit to get a hearing. Their biggest target at the moment is Canada, where the liberal, environmentalist movement appears to pervade not only their elected leaders but the courts as well. If they can convince the Canadians to disgrace themselves in this fashion, Chevron will have a fresh battle on their hands and another round of appeals on international turf.
Of course legal cases which span national borders and oceans get really complicated. What winds up happening if Chevron is tagged with a huge debt in a Canadian court on the same issue which American courts repeatedly declared to be barely more legitimate than a mafia shakedown? Chevron is based in San Ramon, California but they have offices and business interests around the globe. Who gets to put the squeeze on them if they find a judge who will actually entertain this criminal process as a legitimate legal claim? That’s yet another thing we won’t learn until much further down the road, I’m afraid.