As part Chevron’s long-running battle to overcome a multibillion judgment against it in Ecuador, Chevron brought a RICO suit against a New York lawyer and others who allegedly obtained the judgment by fraud. (For a good summary of the case history, see this New Yorker article.) In an order yesterday, Judge Kaplan allowed most of the claims to proceed past a motion to dismiss. Judge Kaplan summarized the claims as follows:
Although there is more to the case, Chevron’s claims include assertions that Steven Donziger, a New York lawyer, and others based in the United States, here conceived, substantially executed, largely funded, and significantly directed a scheme to extort and defraud Chevron, a U.S. company, by, among other things, (1) bringing a baseless lawsuit in Ecuador; (2) fabricating (principally in the United States) evidence for use in that lawsuit in order to obtain an unwarranted judgment there; (3) exerting pressure on Chevron to coerce it to pay money not only by means of the Ecuadorian litigation and Judgment, but also by subjecting Chevron to public attacks in the United States and elsewhere based on false and misleading statements, (4) inducing U.S. public officials to investigate Chevron on the basis of false claims, and (5) making false statements to U.S. courts and intimidating and tampering with witnesses in U.S. court proceedings to prevent Chevron from obtaining evidence of the fraud.
In a separate order, Judge Kaplan denied Chevron’s motion to attach the assets of the defendants and others.