Law firm fires back at Chevron in Ecuador case

Tue Feb 8, 2011 12:39am GMT

* Patton Boggs accuses Chevron of "smear campaign"-filing

* Latest salvo in multibillion-dollar environmental case

* Hearing in Chevron racketeering case set for Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A prominent U.S. law firm accused Chevron Corp (CVX.N: Quote) of mounting a "smear campaign" aimed at keeping it out of a high stakes Ecuadorean environmental pollution case.

The accusation, contained in court documents filed on Monday by Patton Boggs of Washington, D.C., comes a day before a hearing on a new civil racketeering lawsuit by Chevron against Ecuadorean plaintiffs seeking more than $27 billion in damages from the oil giant. [ID:nN01133100]

The Ecuadorean plaintiffs started their litigation in 1993 against Texaco -- bought by Chevron in 2001. They accuse it of dumping oil-drilling waste in unlined pits, contaminating the forest and causing illnesses and deaths among local people.

A judge in Ecuador is expected to make a final ruling in the coming months. [ID:nN31241727]

In the court filings on Monday, Patton Boggs asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C. to allow it to bring tortious interference claims against Chevron and its outside counsel, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

"Chevron and Gibson Dunn have repeated and embellished a fabricated storyline attempting to implicate Patton Boggs in a variety of fraudulent activities," Patton Boggs said in the filing.   Continued...

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