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Chevron Seeks to Avoid Jury Trial for Its Ecuador Suit

Chevron Corp. moved Monday to avoid a jury trial in its suit against a lawyer it accuses of fraud in a high-stakes legal battle over pollution in Ecuador's jungles. The firm said that if a federal judge tries the case, it will drop its claims for monetary damages against Steven Donziger, a lawyer who sued Chevron on behalf of Ecuadorian plaintiffs. Mr. Donziger's clients won a $19 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador against Chevron in 2011… Trying the case before a jury would be riskier for the company, experts said, in part because jurors might not be sympathetic to its argument that it has been victimized by the lawyers for Ecuadorian villagers. If the judge tries the case, Chevron said Monday, it would pursue only claims for "equitable relief."

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