In what the Wall Street Journal editorial board labels a “shakedown rout”, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan and ruled that “an Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron was the product of fraud, coercion and bribery.”
Judge Amalya Kearse, in her opinion, wrote that the court “found no basis for dismissal or reversal” of a lower court’s decision and labeled plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Donziger’s conduct in the litigation against Chevron as “corrupt.” The ruling bars Donziger from enforcing a $9.5 billion judgment won in an Ecuadorian court.
“Faced with an activist-trial-lawyer-media blitz, most companies capitulate and settle to avoid the huge potential costs of litigation and the risk of unpredictable verdicts,” notes the WSJ editorial board. “Mr. Donziger may appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Second Circuit is hardly a conservative venue. Chevron’s vindication looks to be final.”