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What Others Are Saying About the Chevron v. Donziger Appeal Decision

Fraud by the Numbers

Wall Street Journal editorial

“In a 127-page opinion, Judge Amalya Kearse said the court “found no basis for dismissal or reversal” of a lower court’s decision and called lawyer Steven Donziger’s conduct in pursuit of Chevron “corrupt” and a fiasco of legal terrorism and ransom at the highest level. “Donziger hoped for an astronomic estimate that would have an in terrorem effect,” the court wrote, “impelling Chevron to agree to a settlement.”

“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. Mr. Donziger may appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Second Circuit is hardly a conservative venue. Chevron’s vindication looks to be final.”

Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2016


Michael Krauss, Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University

“In May 2015, Brazil’s Deputy Prosecutor General recommended to the Superior Court of Justice that the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment not be recognized for enforcement in that country. In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar issued a judgment against Amazonia Recovery Ltd., a Gibraltar-based company set up by Donziger to receive and distribute funds resulting from the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment. The Gibraltar court awarded Chevron $28 million in damages and issued a permanent injunction against Amazonia, preventing the company from assisting or supporting the case against Chevron in any way.  Now the United States Court of Appeals has issued a 127-page ratification of the prohibition on enforcement of the fraudulent Ecuadorean ruling that, I believe, will shortly be relied on by Canadian courts in rejecting Donziger’s efforts to enforce it in that country.

“When Steven Donziger is disbarred and imprisoned, the final chapter in this sordid story will have been written, and the final triumph of the Rule of Law over this Ecuadorean corruption can be celebrated. column, August 9, 2016


Michael Goldhaber, Senior International Correspondent and “The Global Lawyer” columnist for The American Lawyer 

“Every time Donziger has lost over the past five years, well-meaning supporters have scorned the decision makers as “corporately inclined.”  This is an affront to reason. As the Second Circuit eloquently affirms, Kaplan was merely following the facts. Although litigation fraud has no political valence, some may find it noteworthy that two of the appeal judges (Barrington Parker and Amalya Kearse) are African-Americans originally appointed by Democrats, and the third (Richard Wesley) overruled Kaplan earlier in the case. Judge Kearse also laid the foundation of alien tort jurisprudence, and that’s perfectly appropriate. Like the human rights jurists who filed an amicus brief against Donziger, she knows that there’s no tension between promoting human rights, and policing the integrity of its advocates.”, August 9, 2016


Pat Parenteau, Environmental Law Professor, University of Vermont

“I think what stunned me is that Donziger didn’t contest any of the factual findings of the lower court,” Vermont Law School environmental law professor Pat Parenteau said. “This is some of the most outrageous conduct by a lawyer that I’ve ever seen, but all of his arguments were legal: standing, judicial estoppel, etc.”

“The core of this is a judgment that is a fraud,” Parenteau said. “That would almost be a universally recognized basis for not enforcing a judgment.”

Law360, August 9, 2016


DC Examiner Editorial

“But the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an extraordinary 127-page judgment on Monday highlighting how much more effective an unscrupulous American attorney can be when working in a country where the rule of law is less firmly established.”

“The underlying lesson is that scoundrels on the plaintiffs’ bar often hide their crimes behind sympathetic clients, to whose well-being they are utterly indifferent. The legal system needs greater transparency and reform to eliminate incentives for unscrupulous practitioners to snatch ill-gotten gains. We believe in free trade, but we don’t want America to be the world’s main exporter of corrupt lawyers.”

DC Examiner, August 11, 2016


National Association of Manufacturers

“In short, this case is a reminder that bad actors do try to pervert the justice system for their own financial gain—and that we must remain vigilant against such fraud and corruption. The Second Circuit’s ruling is a victory for Chevron and the people they employ, but more importantly for the rule of the law.”


Peter Foster, Financial Post

Donziger is now beginning to look like the Black Knight in the Monty Python movie who has had all his limbs hacked off but claims that it’s ‘just a flesh wound.’”

“As far as Canada is concerned, the main reason to hope that this case gets tossed out is that otherwise every corrupt regime and corporate shake down artist in the world will look to clog up the Canadian system with their smelliest cases.”

Financial Post, August 15, 2016


Ronald Rotunda, Law Professor, Chapman University

Ronald Rotunda, a law professor at Chapman University in California who co-authored a book on legal ethics, called the extent of the alleged wrongdoing “breathtaking” and said that Chevron’s use of RICO was entirely appropriate. In general, he said, attorneys already know not to engage in such behavior. “Some lines are nice and bright: Don’t give money to a judge to have him come out a certain way,” he said. Asked why the case was significant, he said: “It involves a huge amount of money and a determined defendant that knows its rights and wants to clear its name. If this involved somebody in northern Iowa and it was $500, that would be a notation in a legal newspaper. It wouldn’t make it into my book.”

Law360, August 19, 2016



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