When we last checked in on suspended New York City attorney Steven Donziger and his merry band of wannabe racketeers back in March, things weren’t going so well. He was facing contempt of court charges and had been ordered to repay a significant amount of money back to Chevron, the company he’s spent years trying to fleece for billions of dollars based on a fraudulently obtained judgment in Ecuador. He was also facing fines that would double every day he continued to refuse to comply.
Well, he still hadn’t learned his lesson as of a few weeks ago and the fines had already added up to just shy of one million dollars as of June 13th. That resulted in the judge ordering Donziger to surrender his passport and some electronic devices, lest he attempts to flee the country to avoid paying up. He may have been hoping against all odds to somehow prevail in one of the last places where his lawsuits seeking a judgment against Chevron were still active. That would be the case he attempted to bring in Canada against Chevron Canada Limited, despite the fact that this entity was not in any way associated with the action in Ecuador.
Donziger’s string of bad luck just won’t seem to break, apparently. The case in Canada had already hit a number of setbacks and looked doomed to fail, but now it’s official. Go home, Steven. You won’t be getting any money from the Great White North. (Forbes)
As we wrote, it was inevitable that the suit would be abandoned.
Chevron’s attorneys properly moved to dismiss the action against it, on the grounds that all further efforts to continue the lawsuit would be an abuse of Canada’s legal system, a waste of its judicial resources, and contrary to international law. Today I’m writing to inform you that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ attorneys have now bitten the bullet. On July 5 they consented to an unconditional and permanent dismissal of Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation et al. More significantly, they have agreed to pay Chevron for court costs associated with the case. A court order was issued legally ratifying this agreement. Here’s a link to the order.
This closes the case in Canada, except of course for the calculation of the costs due to Chevron.
A fairly ignominious end to a lurid legal tale, wouldn’t you say? Donziger tied up the courts in Canada for years on an effort that showed no prospects for success. He was trying to sue both Chevron (the parent company) and Chevron Canada Limited. But Chevron has no assets in Canada to go after and Chevron Canada Limited is a distinct entity of its own with no ties to the former business in Ecuador. Even if the court had found some sympathy for the fraudulent judgment from the court in Ecuador (they didn’t), there were no assets in Canada to tap.
And now, adding further insult to injury, Donziger’s associates have been forced to agree to pay Chevron’s legal costs for all of these shenanigans. Where he’s going to come up with the money to pay that is a mystery since he’s already looking at millions in debt back in New York that he didn’t seem to be able to cover. And with that, aside from some possible jail time on contempt charges, we may have finally driven the final nail into the coffin of the Great Chevron Shakedown Caper.