Law firm fires back at Chevron in Ecuador case
* 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...