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TLR’s reader asks how can John Keker abandon Steven Donziger when he is worth over $1 billion as a result of winning his lawsuit against Chevron? [ TLR Note: Answers: 1. By filing a motion to withdraw as counsel 2. Donzinger is not worth over $1 billion 3. Donziger is worth over $1 billion, however, Donziger realized John Keker and Keker & Van Nest are overrated, conservatively speaking 4. Keker withdrew due to ethical concerns; financial excuse is only diversion 5. Keker is bored with case. YR once opined Keker’s strength (and weakness) is his ability to create a short term “splash” . Later, very quickly he gets bored and is soon looking for the next battle. Hence, Keker is not very effective in a long, drawn-out legal battle — unlike Tom Girardi, Walter Lack and Joe Cotchett, for example, who claim their main strength is their “staying-power” — mainly due to ability of the Girardi Syndicate to finance cost of litigation]

“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

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment

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.


About Leslie Brodie

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


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