A U.S. trial has been set for next fall in a Chevron Corp lawsuit that accuses Ecuadorean residents, their lawyers, and advisers of fraud in obtaining a $19 billion pollution award against the U.S. oil company.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said at a brief hearing on Thursday that the trial would begin on Oct. 15, 2013.
Donziger and the Ecuadoreans deny they acted improperly and argue that Chevron’s claims were brought improperly. In May, Kaplan refused the defendants’ request to toss out Chevron’s fraud and racketeering conspiracy claims, brought under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The case is Chevron Corp v. Steven Donziger et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-0691.
For Chevron: Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
For Donziger: John Keker of Keker & Van Nest
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A civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suit naming as defendants (among others) Keker & Van Nest and partner Matt Werdegar was filed in federal court.
The suit was advanced by community activist Daniel Dydzak of Marina Del Rey alleges that defendants run the San Francisco law firm as a criminal racketeering enterprise.
Specifically, defendnats engaged in predicate acts of a pattern of racketeering through and by means of obstruction of justice and myriad acts of fraud.
The suit further contends that named partner John Keker participated and was well aware of the surreptitious and conspiratorial alliances and unlawful agreements.
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In an almost unprecedented turn of events and somewhat ironically, the man who once stated “our justice systems, our courts, are the best things about this country because in other countries, they settle their problems through violence” is now accused of conspiring with others to operate the justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.
Court documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that controversial trial attorney Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese is accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Among the claimed misconduct, the civil suit alleges that in exchange for favorable treatment in court cases, Girardi resorted to the use of payoffs, underwriting social events, and the laundering of money to effect the outcome of court cases “with certain judges and attorneys.”
Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)
RICO is a federal law that authorizes a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be held civilly liable for the crimes that they ordered others to commit or which they assisted in committing.
Girardi (far left) enjoys an authentic dinner, friendship and comradery during an Italian-American Lawyers Association event. The gentleman at the center of the photo is State Bar of California employe Tom Layton who according to sources is part of an ongoing “ambulance chasing” scheme the Girardi Syndicate operates in San Bernardino County vis-a-vis a satellite office located in San Bernardino and managed by Thomas Girardi’s son-in-law, David Lira. (Image:courtesy)
The suit also asserts that other individuals engaged in racketeering activities, including Tom Layton — a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff/Senior State Bar of California investigator, and Alec Chang of Skadden Arps.
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Former Orange County Senator Mired in New Controversy
A RICO suit naming as defendant (among others) Joseph L. Dunn, a former California State Senator who represented central Orange County, was filed in federal court.
The suit, advanced by Marina Del Rey-based community activist Daniel Dydzak, alleges that the former senator engaged in predicate acts of racketeering through and by means of obstruction of justice, money laundering, and myriad acts of fraud.
The action seeks monetary and equitable remedies.
Dunn, a democrat, was elected to the California State Senate in 1998 and served until 2006. He is the former chief executive of the California Medical Association who together with former Democratic Sen. Martha Escutia established The Senators (Ret.) Firm.
A somewhat controversial figure, Dunn has been embroiled in separate controversies dealing with various not for profit entities, to wit, CaliforniaALL, Voice of OC, and UCI Foundation.
In September of 2009, with the help of attorneys Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) Jim Brosnahan (of Morrison & Foerster) and Erwin Chemerinsky (of UC Irvine) Joe Dunn and Martha Escutia launched a not-for-profit entity known as “Orange County Nonprofit Investigative News Agency,” which operates an online publication under the name “Voice of OC” (located at www.voiceofoc.org) headed by Norberto Santana and David Washburn.
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