REFILE-Lawyer 'wanted no part' of case against Chevron in Ecuador

Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:32pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK Oct 31 (Reuters) - A New York lawyer testified on Thursday that he quit a team that was suing Chevron Corp over environmental pollution in Ecuador in 2010 for "ethical" reasons.

The testimony appeared to bolster Chevron's effort to prevent the lawyer who headed the litigation, Steven Donziger, from pursuing enforcement of a $19 billion award against Chevron.

Jeffrey Shinder, a partner at the law firm Constantine Cannon, said Donziger had approached him starting in late 2009 about helping enforce any award the Ecuadorean court issued.

Shinder said he quit after just eight days into his formal retention after learning that a report by an expert appointed by the Ecuadorean court had actually been written by a consulting firm working for the plaintiffs.

"I wanted no part of it," Shinder said in federal court in New York.

The testimony came in the third week of the non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in which Chevron claims that Donziger and others engaged in fraud and bribery to obtain the award.

In 2011, a judge in Ecuador awarded $18 billion to people from the village of Lago Agrio, who had for years been pursuing litigation over environmental contamination from 1964 and 1992 at an oil field operated by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001.   Continued...