“The Legal Fraud of the Century!”
That’s how the Wall Street Journal described a long-running lawsuit against Chevron that has unraveled as bribery and fraud on the part of the plaintiffs’ lawyers has come to light.
Last year, an Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion for environmental contamination in the rainforest. Since the company doesn’t have any assets in Ecuador, the plaintiffs’ legal team has been trying to enforce the judgment in other jurisdictions, including the United States.
On Tuesday, a U.S. district judge found that the Ecuadorian ruling was won through dishonesty and corruption and barred the plaintiffs from enforcing the verdict in the U.S. “The wrongful actions of [plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven] Donziger and his Ecuadorean legal team would be offensive to the laws of any nation that aspires to the rule of law, including Ecuador—and they knew it,” he wrote.