A federal judge Friday refused to delay enforcement of a ruling that a U.S. lawyer used fraud to win a multi-billion pollution verdict against Chevron in Ecuador.
In March, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that attorney Steven Donziger was barred in the U.S. from collecting on a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron.
Donziger appealed the ruling and asked Judge Kaplan to stay the ruling pending the appeal.
Chevron filed a lawsuit against Donziger in New York to block collection of the $9.5 billion Ecuador award.
The oil company said the Ecuador case was tainted by bribery and fake evidence.
Donziger had claimed to represent a group of villagers who alleged Chevron polluted an area of northeastern Ecuador.
An Ecuador judge awarded the villagers $18 billion in 2011 but a higher court there reduced the judgment to $9.5 billion.
Judge Kaplan said in his 500-page decision in March that evidence showed that Donziger bribed a former judge to ghost write the Ecuador judgment and offered bribes to secure the verdict.
“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,” Reuters said.
But in Friday’s order, Kaplan said Donziger’s arguments for a stay were largely “without merit.”
Donziger has accused Judge Kaplan of bias.
The lawyer has denied the bribery and fraud allegations.
Chevron has asked Judge Kaplan to award it $32 million for attorneys fees it incurred during the successful fraud and racketeering trial against Donziger.