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Donziger Firm Can’t Shake Court Costs in Fraud Suit By Chevron

March 1, 2018, 7:08 PM

* Most costs will be born by attorney found to have committed fraud in obtaining $8.646 billion judgment against Chevron

* Attorney Steven Donziger failed to show hardship and waived other arguments

Attorney Steven Donziger will remain on the hook for the bulk of court costs in litigation that ended in a finding he fraudulently obtained an $8.6 billion judgment against Chevron on behalf of Ecuadorean villagers over pollution of the Amazon rain forest.

Donziger’s liability will be trimmed to $813,000 from the original $944,000 amount, representing 85 percent of the costs, the Southern District of New York ruled.

But the court rejected Donziger’s argument that he should be assessed no costs.

Donziger failed to prove financial hardship, and waived the argument that the imposition of costs would violate the First Amendment, the court said.

The court instead adopted a report of the special masters who conducted the pre-trial work in the case that found Donziger’s behavior responsible for most but not all of the hours spent supervising the case.

The case, which resulted in findings that Donziger and other attorneys for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs engaged in fraud and violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, was filed in 2011.

Following a bench trial, the Southern District of New York enjoined the attorneys from seeking to enforce the judgment in the United States.

The Second Circuit upheld the ruling in March 2014.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the ruling.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented Chevron. Donziger appeared pro se.

The case is Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 2018 BL 67966, S.D.N.Y., No. 11-cv-0691, 2/28/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at