Chevron wins a round in U.S. suit against lawyer in Ecuador case
By Mica Rosenberg
NEW YORK, April 25(Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday rejected a bid by a U.S. lawyer to stall the enforcement of a ruling that found he used fraud to secure a $9.5 billion pollution judgment against Chevron Corp in Ecuador.
Lawyer Steven Donziger is appealing a 500-page decision issued by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in March that barred him from collecting on a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in the United States.
Chevron filed a lawsuit against Donziger in New York, claiming he used bribery and fake evidence to win the historic damage award for a group of villagers who claimed the oil giant polluted an area of northeastern Ecuador.
Ecuador's high court had awarded the villagers $18 billion in 2011 but later cut the judgment in half.
Kaplan ruled Donziger had bribed a former judge to ghost-write the Ecuadorean judgment and committed other improprieties, finding him liable for fraud and racketeering.
Donziger had asked Kaplan to put the decision on hold while a federal appeals court considers the merits of his challenge, a process that will likely take months to resolve.
But in Friday's order, Kaplan said Donziger's arguments for a stay were largely "without merit."
Donziger's "claims of irreparable injury rest on a pastiche of unsupported assertions, contradictions of undisputed evidence and fertile imagination," Kaplan's opinion said. Continued...