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29 Jun 2013

Steven Mufson, Washington Post

How Patton Boggs got mired in an epic legal battle with Chevron over jungle oil pits

It’s a monumental battle of wills, money and egos. The oil giant Chevron…has sued Patton Boggs, the nation’s premier legal and lobbying firm, for concealing and promoting fraudulent information in a case that was born in the jungles of the Amazon. Chevron has also convinced a New York federal judge to allow it…to take the extraordinary step of examining thousands of pages of the law firm’s internal communications regarding its client, indigenous people from Ecuador’s Amazon who are suing Chevron…Chevron…is facing an $18.2 billion judgment handed down by an Ecuadoran court for health and environmental damages caused by hundreds of leaky pits filled with thick, gloppy toxic waste from oil drilling. The unlined pits, the plaintiffs say, were left by Texaco, a U.S. oil company that packed up and quit Ecuador in 1992. Chevron acquired Texaco — and this mess — in 2001. [Also refers to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Petroecuador, Kroll, Burford Capital, Stratus.]