April 3rd, 2014 by James
A New York judge has allowed Chevron Corp to sue Patton Boggs over claims that the Washington law and lobbying firm indulged in fraud while making attempts to enforce a multibillion-dollar environmental judgment for a group of Ecuadorean villagers.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan gave his ruling in Manhattan federal court. The judge remarked he had difficulties with the argument of Patton Boggs that a New York court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Patton Boggs partners in question “at least arguably were domiciliaries of the states of the United States” and the firm had the burden of proving partners intended to give up their U.S. domiciles or take up domicile in a foreign country, said the judge.
“This is about holding accountable all those who are responsible for trying to enforce this travesty of justice that occurred in Ecuador,” Chevron’s lawyer, Randy Mastro, said in an interview. “Now there will be the opportunity to hold Patton Boggs accountable for its role.”
In a statement, Patton Boggs general counsel Charles Talisman called claims of Chevron “baseless and unlikely ever to proceed to litigation on the merits.” Talisman added the case was in its early stages and there were still jurisdictional arguments being made.
“If this case advances…we look forward to showing the lack of merit in Chevron’s allegations regarding our law firm,” he said. “We have no doubt that we acted ethically and properly in assisting these communities, and that we will be able to demonstrate this to the court if that becomes necessary.”
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