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Litigation finance firm in Chevron case says it was duped by Patton Boggs

In the latest in a series of bombshell filings, Chevron today submitted a 26-page sworn declaration from the CEO of Burford Capital, a $300 million, publicly traded fund that in late 2010 agreed to finance Patton Boggs’s representation of the plaintiffs bringing an environmental suit against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador.

In it Burford CEO Christopher Bogart says his firm would never have invested in the case were it not for “false and misleading representations” made not only by Steve Donziger, the Lago Agrio team’s longtime New York lawyer, but also by Patton Boggs, a prominent Washington-based, AmLaw 100 law firm that agreed to take on the plaintiffs’ troubled environmental suit in February 2010 on a partial contingency basis. (Read the full declaration here.)

Burford relied, Bogart says, on a misleading analysis of the case made by Patton Boggs partner James Tyrrell, Jr., with whom, Bogart says, Burford had a “‘special’ and multifaceted relationship” at the time. Most of the misrepresentations Bogart alleges concern the extent to which Patton Boggs already knew that a crucial damages assessment drafted by a purportedly “neutral and independent” court-appointed expert in the case had, in reality, been secretly ghost-written by the Lago Agrio plaintiffs lawyers themselves.

Emails seeking comment from Tyrrell and other Patton Boggs attorneys were not immediately returned. Nor were emails to Donziger’s counsel, John Keker (who is in a court proceeding this morning) or the Lago Agrio plaintiff team’s spokesperson, Bill Hamilton of Fenton Communications.

Because an Ecuadorian provincial court issued an $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron in February 2011—later bumped up to $19 billion—Patton Boggs theoretically stands to collect hundreds of millions of dollars if the judgment can ever be enforced. The plaintiffs team is currently attempting to enforce it foreign courts, including those of Canada and Argentina.

Chevron is currently considering whether to bring fraud charges against Patton Boggs, the company stated in a Manhattan federal court filing Friday, and will make up its mind by May 10.

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http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2013/04/17/burford-patton-boggs-chevron-suit/

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About Leslie Brodie

Leslie Brodie is a reporter, writer, blogger, activist, and a religious leader in the community.

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