Steven Donziger
Steven Donziger ()

New York lawyer Steven Donziger has been foiled in his bid to enforce a multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron over allegations of environmental damage in Ecuador.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied Donziger’s petition asking the justices to review a 2016 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That decision barred enforcement of the $8.6 billion judgment, and Donziger argued that a federal court does not have the authority to attack a judgment before it has been paid out.

The judgment against Chevron concerned environmental damage in Ecuador allegedly caused by Texaco, which Chevron has acquired.

But Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan blocked enforcement, finding that Donziger and his legal team achieved the award by fraud and extortion of an Ecuadorean judge and that Chevron could seek relief under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher appeared for Chevron.

Deepak Gupta, Jonathan Taylor and Matthew Spurlock of Gupta Wessler appeared for Donziger.

In 2010, Patton Boggs— which became Squire Patton Boggs following a 2014 merger —joined in on the case and set out to launch a global effort to enforce the judgment by attacking Chevron’s assets.

In 2014, Patton agreed to pay $15 million and express regret about its role in the Chevron litigation.

Donziger sued Chevron to scuttle the settlement, arguing that attorneys at Patton did not inform him that settlement talks were underway, but Kaplan again ruled against Donziger.