* Patton Boggs accuses Chevron of "smear campaign"-filing
* Latest salvo in multibillion-dollar environmental case
* Hearing in Chevron racketeering case set for Tuesday
(Adds Chevron comment)
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 7 A prominent U.S. law firm
accused Chevron Corp (CVX.N) of mounting a "smear campaign"
aimed at keeping it out of a high stakes Ecuadorean
environmental pollution case.
The accusation, contained in court documents filed on
Monday by Patton Boggs of Washington, D.C., comes a day before
a scheduled hearing in a new civil racketeering lawsuit brought
by Chevron last week against Ecuadoreans seeking more than $27
billion in damages from the oil giant.
The latest two court moves are just the latest salvos in a
long-running legal war with more than 15 court proceedings in
various locations. [ID:nN01133100]
The Ecuadoreans started their litigation in 1993 against
Texaco -- bought by Chevron in 2001. They accuse it of dumping
oil-drilling waste in unlined pits, contaminating the forest
and causing illnesses and deaths among local people.
A judge in Ecuador is expected to make a final ruling in
the coming months. [ID:nN31241727]
In the court filings on Monday, Patton Boggs asked a
federal judge in Washington, D.C., to allow it to bring
tortious interference claims against Chevron and its outside
counsel, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Patton Boggs claims its opponents are trying to disrupt its
relationship with the Ecuadoreans.
"Chevron and Gibson Dunn have repeated and embellished a
fabricated storyline attempting to implicate Patton Boggs in a
variety of fraudulent activities," Patton Boggs said in the
Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson called the Patton Boggs
filing "confused" because the law firm says in the same
document that its relationship with the Ecuadoreans is "still
Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutrous Jr. said the filing
is "frivolous," adding that Gibson Dunn's efforts have revealed
overwhelming evidence of a scheme to defraud Chevron.
Chevron is attempting to disqualify Patton Boggs from a
related proceeding, arguing that the law firm never obtained
proper permission from the Ecuadoreans to enter the case.
The case in U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia is Patton Boggs LLP v. Chevron Corp., 10-cv-1975.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Gary