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The Am Law Litigation Daily – Plaintiffs Counsel Suing Chevron in Ecuador Engaged in Some Crude Lawyering

Date: Aug 13, 2010

A new article on the Chevron Ecuador lawsuit:

The story of Chevron in Ecuador  already bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Dole in Nicaragua. A U.S. company persuades a U.S. judge to toss out an alien tort claim on forum non conveniens grounds. U.S. plaintiffs lawyers then seek jackpot damages in a Latin American court (while being lionized in a controversial documentary). The corporation discredits the Latin American court by returning to the U.S. courts and alleging fraud.

In Dole’s case, a judge in California state court found that some of the plaintiffs lawyers had misled the court. In the Chevron case, it appeared that the actor most clearly discredited was the Ecuadorian judge caught on film discussing damages with an outside party. But last week, as the Litigation Daily previously reported, Chevron’s lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher filed a brief asserting that outtakes from the documentary Crude, turned over by the filmmaker in response to a Second Circuit discovery ruling, suggest that the plaintiffs lawyers themselves choreographed an “independent” expert’s report recommending up to $27 billion in damages.

Last year plaintiffs countered coverage of the judicial bias videotapes  by attacking the motives and background of the American who secretly filmed the judge. Explaining the newly released footage will be more difficult. Based on what is known so far about the Crude outtakes, outrage seems appropriate. While the footage raises interesting questions of filmmaking ethics, what matters for the litigation is the apparent evidence of collusion between plaintiffs and court-appointed expert Richard Cabrera.

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