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22 Sep 2020

Jason Grant, New York Law Journal

USA: Steven Donziger Files Papers Seeking to Appeal His Disbarment

"Donziger Files Papers Seeking to Appeal His Disbarment", 22 September 2020.

Embattled lawyer Steven Donziger on Tuesday filed legal papers in New York State’s high court asking it to review his recent disbarment...

As part of their argument...he and his attorney also contended Tuesday that Donziger’s disbarment by the state’s intermediate appeals court was flawed because that court gave collateral-estoppel effect to a federal judge’s civil-case findings of Donziger’s wrongdoings—thereby not allowing Donziger to properly challenge the wrongdoing before the disbarment court.

“Virtually all the hallmarks of a fair application of collateral estoppel, as defined by this [high] court’s prior decisions, were absent”...argued J. Richard Supple, Donziger’s new attorney-ethics counsel...

Donziger was disbarred in August by the Appellate Division, First Department court, after it pointed to findings made by Lewis Kaplan, a Manhattan federal court judge, that Donziger had committed fraud in order to win an $8.6 billion judgment in Ecuador against Chevron...during a bench trial in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case launched by Chevron against Donziger...

“The specific legal issue facing Donziger affects all lawyers nationwide—whether a civil finding of fraud in a non-jury case [before Kaplan, who ruled after holding a bench trial] can be used to disbar an attorney without a hearing [on the fraud findings], especially when the evidence is disputed by new findings of facts by other courts,” said Donziger and Supple...