Washington law firm Patton Boggs said Wednesday it has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a claims by Chevron over the firm’s efforts to collect a $9.5 billion pollution award issued by an Ecuador court.
Patton Boggs also granted Chevron the right to question two of its partners under oath about the case.
American plaintiffs lawyer Steven Donziger won an $18 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador three years ago on behalf of indigenous Amazon tribes.
Chevron sued Donziger in federal court in New York, alleging that the Ecuador award was tainted by bribery and fraud.
In March, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the Ecuador judgment was the product of graft and “egregious fraud.”
He barred Donziger from enforcing or profiting from the judgment.
Before the March ruling, Patton Boggs had been working with Donziger to collect the judgment against Chevron.
Patton Boggs sued Chevron in U.S. federal court but its claims were dismissed three times.
Chevron brought counter claims against the law firm, alleging it joined Donziger in fraud and deceit to enforce the Ecuador award.
On Wednesday, D.C.- based Patton Boggs issued a release saying firm “regrets its involvement” in the lawsuit.
It also signed over to Chevron its 5% interest in the judgment.
And it agreed to end its representation of plaintiffs in the Ecuador case and hand over documents relating to efforts to enforce the judgment, Forbes reported
As part of the settlement, Patton Boggs’ partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger will give depositions overseen by a court-appointed special master, Forbes said.
“The object of Chevron’s search is evidence of who is funding Donziger’s litigation now, and structures he may have set up to hold proceeds should he win enforcement of the judgment in some foreign court,” according to the report.
After starting work on the case in 2010, Patton Boggs wrote plan code-named “Invictus.”
The purpose of the plan was “to apply maximum pressure on Chevron to settle while simultaneously preparing to seize oil tankers, buildings and any other assets they can get their hands on to satisfy the judgment,” Forbes said.
Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel said: “We are pleased that Patton Boggs is ending its association with the fraudulent and extortionate Ecuador litigation scheme. Chevron detailed its objections to Patton Boggs’ conduct in its counterclaim, and today’s agreement brings that litigation to an end.”