“The lawyer who has been defending controversial plaintiffs attorney Steven Donziger in a lawsuit by Chevron Corp (CVX.N), filed a motion on Friday to withdraw as counsel, citing Donziger’s inability to pay his legal bills,” according to Reuters
With their clients unable to afford fighting claims that they fraudulently snared a $19 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador, two law firms now seek to withdraw. “This is an extraordinary case, which has degenerated into a Dickensian farce,” John Keker of the San Francisco-based firm Keker & Van Nest wrote in a 15-page motion, according to Courthouse News Service.
As expected, in a highly miselading press-release, Donziger blamed Judge Lewis Kaplan and Chevron (rather than his own inability to pay). Donziger wrote:
Bias of Federal Judge and Chevron’s Abusive Tactics Prompt Law Firm to Withdraw from Ecuador Case
Submitted by: Donziger and Associates
Posted: May 03, 2013 – 07:27 PM EST
NEW YORK, May 03 /CSRwire/ – Citing the bias of New York federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan against Ecuadorian rainforest residents who won a judgment against Chevron, a prominent law firm is seeking to withdraw from its representation of New York attorney Steven Donziger in a related New York case that it says “has degenerated into a Dickensian farce” due to the oil giant’s abusive litigation tactics.
Keker & Van Nest, which represents Donziger, who is the main target of a Chevron retaliation campaign, filed the motion Friday before Judge Kaplan. Lead attorney John Keker has called the New York proceedings orchestrated by Judge Kaplan a “show trial” and previously said that Kaplan was treating him “like a goat tethered to a stake.”
Separately, and for similar reasons, the Houston-based law firm Smyser Kaplan & Veselka also announced it would seek to withdraw from the case on behalf of the two Ecuadorian rainforest residents who have appeared, Javier Piaguaje and Hugo Camacho.
Keker’s motion to withdraw from the case can be found here. A statement from Donziger, which emphasized the New York litigation will have no impact on the international enforcement efforts that target Chevron assets, can be found here.