MANHATTAN (CN) - Chevron can sue the law firm Patton Boggs for trying to enforce a fraudulent $9.5 billion Ecuadorean judgment against it, a federal judge ruled Monday.
On March 4, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote that the multibillion dollar environmental award issued in the Ecuadorean Amazon was "procured by corrupt means," and he barred the lawyers working on the case to collect any penny of it.
An emergency appeal of the ruling is now pending in the 2nd Circuit.
Patton Boggs, a Washington, D.C, law firm that the Ecuadoreans retained in 2010, had brainstormed a collection strategy in the so-called "Invictus Memo."
Chevron alleged that the document was a blueprint to extort a fraudulent judgment, which a court in Ecuador's rainforest city of Lago Agrio issued in 2011.
Patton Boggs fired back with federal lawsuits in Washington and New York accusing Chevron of smearing and intimidating any attorney helping Ecuadoreans seek redress for its predecessor Texaco's oil contamination of the Amazon jungle.
"Chevron's playbook has long been transparent - for 17 years, the company has done everything it can to avoid engaging on the merits, to obstruct the progress of the case, and to deprive the Ecuadorian plaintiffs of legal representation and aid," a complaint that the firm filed in 2010 states.
A federal judge in Washington later dismissed lawsuit, and shot down multiple attempts to amend it.
Kaplan has not ruled on Patton Bogg's pending claims in New York, but he granted Chevron permission Monday to amend its claims against the firm.
Chevron said in a statement: "Patton Boggs came into the case at a critical moment when the scheme was collapsing and proceeded to resurrect it and then try to cover it up. Chevron is pursuing claims against Patton Boggs to hold it accountable for its role in perpetuating this fraud against the company."
James Tyrrell, an attorney for Patton Boggs, did not reply to a request for comment by press time.
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