The Southern District of New York issued an order upholding Chevron's complaint for racketeering, fraud, conspiracy and New York Judiciary Law 487, which provides for civil damages against an attorney who engages in deceit or collusion with intent to deceive a court, against U.S. plaintiffs' lawyer and RICO defendant Steven Donziger, related to the long-running environmental case against the Company in Ecuador.
As the Court noted in its opinion, Chevron "alleges that the RICO defendants are executing a multi-faceted, extortionate scheme that included not only bringing the Lago Agrio case, but also intimidating of Ecuadorian judges, fabricating evidence, making false statements to U.S. courts, Congress, the SEC, and the media, and bringing false criminal charges, all for the purpose of coercing Chevron 'into paying to stop the campaign against it.'" Judge Kaplan, in his order, also ruled that "Chevron's extortion allegations are more than sufficient." Furthermore, the order rejected all of Donziger's challenges to Chevron's allegations under the federal RICO statute, finding that Chevron had adequately stated claims for mail and wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. The Court also held that Chevron had stated valid claims under common law fraud and the New York Judiciary Act, which creates civil liability for lawyers who attempt to deceive courts.