Following revelations of racketeering and questionable practices that aided in the original decision, a federal court ruled in March that an environmental-damage tab of $9.5 billion issued to Chevron may not have been valid. Those revelations gave Chevron a course to fight back, and it has litigiously pursued the law firms involved in the original decisions.
Now, Patton Boggs LLP has agreed to pay out $15 million to Chevron Corp., settling a lawsuit filed by the oil company. Patton Boggs has also agreed to drop out of the Ecuadorian litigation as a stipulation of the agreement.
The initial lawsuit was actually levied against Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001. While the oil giant settled other oil-waste claims filed by Ecuador in the 90s, it was charged with neglecting to aid in the cleanup of Lago Agrio, the contamination of which resulted in illness throughout local populations. In the March 4 decision, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger landed the deal through a number of unethical methods. Among those practices, was the fabrication of evidence, bribing Ecuadorian judges, and laundering money.
In April, Kaplan also dismissed a claim filed by Patton Boggs that argued legal activity coming from Chevron was malicious.
Patton Boggs said in a release concerning the Chevron settlement, that the March ruling, “included a number of factual findings about matters which would have materially affected our firm’s decision to become involved and stay involved as counsel.” The firm also said that it regretted its involvement.
“We are pleased that Patton Boggs is ending its association with the fraudulent and extortionate Ecuador litigation scheme,” Chevron General Counsel Hewitt Pate said in a statement. “Chevron encourages others to disassociate themselves from this fraud.”
For more on environmental litigation, check out these stories: