Chevron seeking $32 million in legal fees in Ecuador case

[JURIST] Chevron Corporation [official website] on Tuesday filed [text, PDF] for reimbursement of attorneys' fees against Attorney Steven Donziger [official website] and others in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. Chevron prevailed earlier this month in its lawsuit against Donziger for fraud and racketeering and demands compensation for over $32 million the company allegedly spent in attorneys' fees associated with the trial. The racketeering trial was brought by Chevron in retaliation for a 2011 lawsuit between the same parties in which Donziger prevailed. That lawsuit [JURIST report], brought by Donziger and litigated in Ecuador, found Chevron liable for 8.6 billion for polluting large areas of the Ecuadorian rain forest. Chevron subsequently brought and prevailed on charges that the Ecuadorian lawsuit was a "multinational criminal enterprise" intended to defraud and extort "one of the best-known companies in the world."

Chevron's claim for reimbursement is the latest in the high-stakes legal drama between it and Donziger. In February 2011, an Ecuadorian court found Chevron liable for $8.6million, far short of the 113 billion Donziger originally sought. This amount was subsequently increased [JURIST report] to $18 billion for Chevron's refusal to pay "moral reparations" to the Ecuadorian government, as required by the original ruling. Since Chevron owned no assets in Equador, a US District Court judge immediately halted [JURIST report] enforcement of the judgment to eliminate the possibility that the plaintiffs would seek payment in other countries where Chevron does business. In September 2011, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ended the injunction on enforcement but allowed Chevron to postpone payment pending its appeal of the verdict.

 

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