Lawyer in Chevron Ecuadorian climate case loses license due to ‘coercion, fraud and bribery’

WUWT reader “Neo” writes in with this tip:

An attorney who won an $8.6 billion award in an Ecuadoran court against Chevron Corp. over pollution of the Amazon rain forest later found to be obtained by coercion, fraud and bribery has lost his law license.

Steven Donziger is suspended from practicing law in New York state until further notice based on findings made in  March 2014 by a federal trial court, a New York appeals court said July 10.

The 2014 findings of U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan are “uncontroverted evidence of serious professional misconduct which immediately threatens the public interest,” the appeals court said.

This is perhaps one of the final chapters in what Judge Kaplan referred to as an “extraordinary” case right “out of Hollywood,” Jeremy D. Frey, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia specializing in complex civil litigation, told Bloomberg Law.

Given Kaplan’s finding, Frey said, today’s disciplinary ruling is likely not unexpected.

“Lawyer disciplinary proceedings—and challenges to them– are rarely if ever the main event, but follow along after the crash and complete the wreckage.” Frey said.

“If Judge Kaplan is right, this result is well –deserved. Regardless, the other shoe falling can’t be a good or happy event for anyone,” he said.

Michael Krauss, who teaches teaches torts, legal ethics, products liability, and jurisprudence at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington, Va., said he is surprised that it took this long for the state to suspend Donziger’s license.

“Donziger’s name will hopefully be enshrined in legal ethics courses for generations to come,” Krauss told Bloomberg Law.

Full story here

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July 14, 2018 4:25 pm

Why won’t anyone on WUWT be surprised at this.

The whole bloody AGW scam is likely rife with this behaviour, only accepted because of the back slapping old pals act amongst the green blob.

Tragically, this guy didn’t act alone, there were plenty more who knew what he was up to and said nothing.

Meanwhile, back in the old UK, and the demonstrations all over the country at President Trumps’visit here, I was pleased to note there were also some support rallies.

I also heard on the BBC, a Council official in the area of Trumps golf club praising the President for building the course, using local labour, and employing local staff. He evidently also restored a ballroom valued by the locals, something I don’t believe he needed to do.

As the guy said, Mr Trump has done everything he promised to do.

A little bit like he’s doing back in the USA.

Reply to  HotScot
July 14, 2018 4:48 pm

Some person flew a paraglider over the golf course where President Trump was. This person was towing a banner that announced “Trump: well below par”. link

Apparently the pilot thought The Donald is a good golfer. 😉

Roger Knights
Reply to  commieBob
July 14, 2018 7:10 pm

I heard or read a story (I think in WaPo) evaluating all presidential golfers. Its finding was that Trump is by far the best of them. (And he doesn’t take “Mulligans” (do-overs) like Clinton.)

Reply to  Roger Knights
July 14, 2018 7:20 pm

I agree Roger, Tiger Woods would make a much better president than Trump.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 15, 2018 7:54 am

Donald L. Klipstein

Are you trying to tell me Obama wasn’t Tiger?

And he made a crap job of his presidency.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 15, 2018 12:04 pm

You really need to get over your hatred of the man.
He won and he’s doing a much better job than your guy did.

Honest liberty
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2018 2:41 pm

Who is this Donald L Klipstein guy? Geez, bud, grow up a bit. Look, I’m an anarchist and made my point quite clear on this site and nearly everyone thinks I’m nuts… Right? So, by that standard I’m nuts and even I can appreciate much of what this guy is doing.
For the love of adulthood, at least make an attempt at reaching an emotional maturity in line with your age. Good grief

Reply to  Honest liberty
July 15, 2018 3:19 pm

It figures that an anarchist would appreciate all of the accomplishments of Putin’s lapdog.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 15, 2018 5:49 pm

It figures a clueless moron would make such an infantile declaration.

So, for 75 years the Dems were sucking Russian/Soviet wiener and now it’s BAD, BAD, BAD?

My eight year old niece comes up with better excuses.

Reply to  Sharpshooter
July 15, 2018 6:00 pm

LOL Sharpshooter, JFK didn’t suck any Russian wiener in Cuba……You appear to be historically challenged.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Donald, you are correct… However, because Kruschev thought that he would, being a democrat, he gambled and was moving nukes to Cuba. Unfortunately for Kruschev, Kennedy didn’t turn out to be the typical democrat. Unlike Obama who said to tell Putin “I can be more flexible after the election”.
If we would have had a Trump or Reagan in the White House at the time, most likely there would not have been the Cuban Missile crisis in the first place. Despots are willing to be much more aggressive when they perceive their opponent as weak.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 15, 2018 9:59 pm

Mr. Klipstein, you simply don’t know, what you are talking about. Trump’s sanctions, Trump’s Tomahawks in Syria, Trump’s policy of not allowing Germans to depend on Russian gas, everything Trump said about Salisbury poisoning in England — all this made Putin repeatedly soil his pants. But you, swamp creatures, are ready to say anything, no matter how stupid, to insult the POTUS who endagers your access to government-financed feeding troughs, aren’t you?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 9:08 am

I see where the hanglider pilot was arrested for violating the no-fly zone around the president.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2018 8:32 am

May his sentence be above par.

Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 9:53 am

Invincible ignorance.

Reply to  jimB
July 15, 2018 5:50 pm

That’s redundant. 🙂

nutso fasst
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 1:12 pm

And to show that all Brits “look down” on Trump, they flew his image on a helium balloon.

Doug in Calgary
Reply to  HotScot
July 14, 2018 7:06 pm

On the down side, Sadiq Khan and the London police banned pro-Trump rallies while allowing large anti-Trump rallies.

Reply to  Doug in Calgary
July 14, 2018 10:47 pm

No free speech allowed In Khan’s London.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
July 14, 2018 11:25 pm


Reply to  Marcus
July 15, 2018 7:55 am


It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.

Jonathan Griggs
Reply to  HotScot
July 16, 2018 11:43 am

I wish I could upvote this more than once. Too funny because it’s too true.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
July 15, 2018 9:10 am

Trump called Khan a terrible mayor. 🙂

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
July 15, 2018 5:51 pm

We should have let the Germans have them in 1940 and saved ourselves $$Billions and 500,000 lives.

Martin A
Reply to  Sharpshooter
July 16, 2018 1:08 am

We should have let the Germans have them in 1940 and saved ourselves $$Billions and 500,000 lives.

Please study your history more carefully.

The US was not involved in the war until 1941, by which time Germany had abandoned its plan to invade the UK, following its defeat in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Hitler declared war on the US in 1941, so giving the US no option but to fight.

Had that not happened, the USSR would ultimately have defeated Germany and would have imposed Soviet rule on all Europe up to the English Channel.

Jonathan Griggs
Reply to  Martin A
July 16, 2018 11:47 am

In Sharpshooter’s defense most of the supplies the British were receiving prior to direct American involvement came from the US. That said I disagree with his sentiment. The UK is just like the US in so much as the loudest and most distasteful among their population tend to be of the far-left ideologies. Brainwashed as children by their teachers and a whitewashing of the true horrors of history regarding socialism around the globe.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Doug in Calgary
July 15, 2018 9:09 am

I saw at least one pro-Trump rally in the UK on tv this morning. It may not have been in London proper though.

Reply to  Doug in Calgary
July 15, 2018 12:04 pm

Liberals are fully committed to free speech.
As long as you say what you are told to say.

July 14, 2018 4:27 pm

The “Save Solar in MA” ads in the middle of this story add a touch of irony and wonder about where the world is going.

Jacob Frank
Reply to  Rxc
July 14, 2018 5:37 pm

Be sure to click on them,

July 14, 2018 4:31 pm

Donziger probably thought he would be OK even if his crimes were discovered – after all, identity thief Peter Gleick never got charged for his crimes, and Gleick is still welcome as a climate hero at AGU.

July 14, 2018 4:35 pm

Hopefully stormy weather for Avenatti next.

Reply to  pat
July 14, 2018 11:56 pm

Or Michael Cohan.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Simon
July 15, 2018 12:39 am

True but how Avenatti got Cohan’s records may make them inadmissible.

July 14, 2018 4:37 pm

My only question is how much money he pocketed along the way. Because if it’s a lot, then this is just an early retirement.

J Mac
July 14, 2018 4:37 pm

Can’t wait to hear how the AGW sycophants try to spin this verified conspiracy to commit fraud…..
Not only were the lawyers bribing judges, coercing and committing fraud but “The attorneys also engaged in a civil violation of Section 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the court found, which requires conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, Kaplan said.”

Who was paying them to commit fraud against Chevron? The Big AGW Racketeering Industry?

Reply to  J Mac
July 14, 2018 5:47 pm

This was never an AGW case.

Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2018 9:56 am

Mark: My thoughts exactly. But it does call for some introspection by the plaintiff’s bar
(AKA The ABA).

Pat Frank
Reply to  J Mac
July 15, 2018 9:52 am

They’ll just invoke the “I, Rigoberta Menchu” defense, in which Steven Donziger will be said to have lied in order to tell a higher truth.

The fact that he stood to gain a few hundred mill $ from it all should turn no one’s head away from his high ethics.

The court that convicted Mr. Donziger also noted that, “[former Ecuadorian judge Alberto] Guerra’s decision to cooperate with Chevron and, ultimately, to testify in this case would have exposed him and his family to serious risks to personal safety and security had they remained in Ecuador,” testifying to the similarly high ethics of Mr. Donzigers eNGO pals.

July 14, 2018 4:49 pm

Ouch big time!

Par for the course when they lean too far Left. What’s he teaching now, how NOT to rampantly stuff foot in own mouth? Proof yet again that the Left have such a complete lack of honesty, remorse, empathy, gratitude, ethics and intelligence. Makes me wonder what’s going on in that DNA, which should therefore never be replicated but is likely left at most crime scenes.

“Donziger’s name will hopefully be enshrined in legal ethics courses for generations to come,” Krauss told Bloomberg Law.

Just beautiful. I is feeling big happy all over now. Yummy.

July 14, 2018 4:53 pm

I am not saying that the Ecuadorian case was not about climate, but the article only mentions pollution and does not mention climate.

Reply to  davidgmills
July 14, 2018 5:10 pm

It’s about the lying-greedy-hypocritical class of society using environmental BS/lies to make large personal gains, while at the same time being enabled and patted on the back by the virtue signalers (or the “I got mine …” types).

Analogous to the AGW scam (and the Clinton foundation).

Dave Kelly
Reply to  davidgmills
July 14, 2018 7:45 pm

It was an oil drilling clean-up case resulting from a joint Ecuadorian/Texaco oil drilling project.

Texaco was an operating partner in a joint venture with Ecuador’s state-owned oil company Petroecuador. Ecuador retained a 62.5% share of the of the project’s proceeds. If one includes the taxes Texaco paid Ecuador, the country received 93% of the project profits. (see the book “Law of the Jungle” by Paul Barrett).

Chevron became involved when it acquired Texaco in 2001.

According to the following article in Fortune magazine:

“Under a remediation agreement struck in 1994—two years after Texaco left Ecuador – Texaco cleaned up its proportional share of the joint venture’s oil fields in a three-year process that Ecuadorian officials monitored and signed off on as having been properly completed in 1998. Petroecuador, however, never did fully clean up its share of the concession. The pits shown on 60 Minutes, for instance, are sites for which Ecuador was made responsible under the 1994 remediation agreement, not Texaco, though the program never explains that fact to viewers. Donziger insists that Texaco alone should have been required to clean up everything, notwithstanding the Republic’s majority stake, and he alleges that the remediation Texaco did perform was inadequate or even fraudulent—but these are sharply contested claims.”

July 14, 2018 5:46 pm

The sad thing is there are still a lot of true believers who believe that this was a solid case and it was corruption that overturned the Ecuadorian verdict.

July 14, 2018 5:46 pm

The Ecuadorian government is not giving up on it. Their Constitutional Court recently upheld the lower courts’ rulings. Not much chance of them seeing any money. Their hopes now lay with Canada, though Donziger was to have played a prominent role in that court battle.

Dave Kelly
July 14, 2018 6:41 pm

For those interested in a summary of the original case I’d recommend the following article written by Roger Parloff for Fortune magazine entitled “Where’s Preet? The unasked question in Chevron v. Donziger”. See here:

The descriptions of how “business” was conducted in Ecuador in the ’10s, as described in the above article, were entertainingly familiar… mirroring as they did tales my father told of his experiences dealing with Ecuadorian officials in the early ’70s… as a U.S Military Intelligence Officer… proving that some things never change.

At any rate, and if nothing else, I guarantee a read of the article will provide a good chuckle and underline the degree of corruption that exists in the environment movement.

As teasers I give you the following two tidbits.

The bribe solicitation to the Ecuadorian Judge occurred, you can’t make this up, “at a Quito [Ecuador] restaurant, called the Honey & Honey, in 2010, at a meeting between him [the Judge] and Donziger, Fajardo, and a third leader of the plaintiffs team.”

As a second tidbit, “Richard Cabrera, who was a supposed to be acting as a neutral, independent auxiliary to the Ecuadorian court—akin to a special master in the United States—had issued a crucial damages report on April 1, 2008.”

But, alas, there was no independence for be had out of this special master, for as U.S Federal Judge Kaplan concluded:

“He [Cabrera] was recruited by Donziger. He was paid under the table out of a secret account above and beyond the legitimate court-approved payments. He was promised work on the remediation [i.e., contracts to cleanse oil-contaminated land] for life if the [Lago Agrio plaintiffs, or “LAPs”] won. The LAPs gave him an office and life insurance, as well as a secretary who was a girlfriend of one of the LAP team members.”

And that, my lads, is how the environmental community does business.

But, wait just a second, isn’t there the very real question of why Mr Donziger isn’t now the subject of a criminal prosecution? Because in the greater scheme of things, losing his license to practice law in the State of New York is a mere slap in the wrist. That question, too, is addressed in the article.

July 14, 2018 7:46 pm

Lawyer, politician, activist, or scientist. When will the skeptics be taken seriously? Without media support…… never. All this won’t come to light until everyone reading this is dead but that doesn’t mean we should stop ‘outing’ the alarmists.

Christian Bultmann
July 14, 2018 8:53 pm

A Youtube channel “The Amazon Post” details the actions of Steven Danziger and his famous comment “Facts do not exist. Facts are created.” in the movie Crude. Kudos to Chevron to at-least trying to hold fraudsters like Steven Danziger accountable, unfortunately so far it only resulted in him loosing his title as attorney.

July 14, 2018 9:27 pm

When are the “Monsanto’s glyphosate causes cancer if you have an EDF operative inside the CIRC-IARC team” ambulance chasing lawyers disbarred?

What about the “exposure to Fukushima Daiichi’s fallout on a nuclear powered ship caused all sorts of medical issues incl. back pain” lawyer?

July 14, 2018 11:26 pm

Many judges and barristers are corrupt and blatantly enrich themselves in the judicial system and in particular by driving and riding the appeals-gravy-train.
One of the most corrupt examples before the courts (down-under) is the case of Actress Rebel Wilson who’s appealing the appeal of a defamation judgement.
I know people in the profession and this is real and truly a threat to our decent Western society.
Shame on Australian judges and magistrates who perpetuate this insidious pernicious evil.
Shame on our politicians for not taking a hard line on the judges involved.
The recidivist judicial offenders are well known so what’s going on?

July 15, 2018 12:32 am

““extraordinary” case right “out of Hollywood,” “

It won’t be made into a movie. Big oil isn’t the bad guy. Trial lawyers aren’t the knights in shining armor.

Reply to  Taphonomic
July 15, 2018 5:54 am

Plus there was going to be a film, though I presume the project is dead by now.

Reply to  Taphonomic
July 15, 2018 6:14 am
Reply to  Taphonomic
July 15, 2018 6:17 am

For some reason my first comments disappeared. Ah… maybe typo in email address. Trying again…
There was a (crowd-sourced) play:

Reply to  Andy West
July 15, 2018 7:04 am

A review of the play was spiked.

And an actor quit before the play launched

Several people in Hollywood backed the original lawsuit against Chevron. It’s a great story, I’ve followed it for years, but I truly doubt it will get made into a movie. To many sacred cows are barbecued.

Reply to  Taphonomic
July 15, 2018 6:18 am
Ed Zuiderwijk
July 15, 2018 2:46 am

And so the green maffia is slowly but steadily cut back. It will take a long time to defeat the cancer but at the horizon is a shining light and a blue sky. I live in hope it will be reached in my lifetime.

Alan Watt, Cliamate Denialist Level 7
July 15, 2018 5:37 am

This is perhaps one of the final chapters in what Judge Kaplan referred to as an “extraordinary” case right “out of Hollywood,” Jeremy D. Frey, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia specializing in complex civil litigation, told Bloomberg Law.

The “final chapter” should be 20 years in Club Fed. It wasn’t just Donziger; he had partners in his extortion plot. And there were other law firms who bought portions of the expected judgement. Chevron has gotten damage judgements against some of them.

The ever-reliable Wikipedia has an account here, which somehow manages to omit mention that Donziger and his cronies are on tape bragging that “… this is Ecuador, right? … you can say whatever you want and at the end of the day you will get what you want”.

This story first came to my attention in 2011 in WUWT here. At the time I read the entire RICO brief Chevron filed. The phrase “sleazy lawyer” does not even begin to cover what Donziger and his gang did. Disbarment is way too little and way too late.

July 15, 2018 9:51 am

Weren’t other lawyers participants in this fraud? Disbar all of them.
Jim B, retired lawyer

July 15, 2018 11:11 am

If he got just 1% of that 8.6 billion, I doubt he cares about his license anymore.

Reply to  kramer
July 15, 2018 2:19 pm

Chevron never paid anything.

July 15, 2018 1:57 pm

Surprising the hang glider wasn’t just shot clear out of the sky . Guaranteed there was a sight on him with a 50 cal round a 1/4 inch from being launched . Better to be below par than below earth .

July 15, 2018 4:41 pm

Thanks, Anthony. Been following this for years, but retired this spring and don’t have access to the journals I used to have. Glad to read he’s gotten the final slap-down.

July 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Don’t get your hopes up.

Most politicians are lawyers, so you can bet the laws are written to protect the lawyers.

He will hire a lawyer specializing in getting lawyers reinstated, hist lawyer will come up with some thin excuse, no one involved will have any reason to oppose him being reinstated.

He will be reinstated.

This is New York, not Shangri-La

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