Trials & Litigaiton

US Judge Grants TRO to Block Enforcement of Potential Ecuador Verdict Against Chevron


In the latest twist in a hard-fought international environmental case that reportedly could win a megabillions verdict for the plaintiffs, a federal judge in New York has granted a temporary restraining order banning enforcement of any judgment that might be awarded in the future by a court in Ecuador.

The request for a TRO by Chevron was part of a civil racketeering lawsuit it recently filed against the plaintiffs and a lawyer representing them, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chevron had argued to the U.S. court that the plaintiffs, in a claimed memo that the oil company said was tied to another law firm representing them, had shown their intent to disrupt Chevron’s business worldwide to try to collect any verdict, Reuters reports.

“Helter-skelter disruption for the sake of disruption … is not in the public interest,” said Judge Lewis Kaplan as he issued the order. “The worst that can happen is that the plaintiffs are delayed in enforcing that judgment for 28 days.”

Kaplan ruled from the bench, notes the Associated Press.

The ruling yesterday follows a motion by a third law firm representing the plaintiffs, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, to withdraw for unknown reasons, according to Corporate Counsel.

As detailed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs, Patton Boggs, is seeking permission of a federal court in Washington, D.C., to sue Chevron and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for alleged tortious interference with its relationship with the plaintiffs.

A New York Law Journal article provides additional details about Kaplan’s ruling.

Updated at 4:59 p.m. to link to New York Law Journal article.

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