Chevron Corporation v. Donziger

Firm: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Issue Area: Environment, Climate, & Fossil Fuels

Case summary

Gibson Dunn prosecuted environmental activist and attorney Steven Donzinger on behalf of Chevron Corporation. Donzinger had previously won a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron for environmental damages in Ecuadorian court. But a U.S. Court refused to enforce the judgment, instead the court accused Donzinger of fraud. While federal prosecutors would not bring charges against Donzinger, attorneys from Gibson Dunn were appointed, securing a conviction for contempt of court and 900 days of house arrest for Donzinger.

According to news reports, Gibson Dunn employed aggressive tactics to smear Donzinger: "Led by the law firm Gibson Dunn, [Chevron's] hot pursuit of [Donziger] has involved hiring private investigators to track him, creating a publication to smear him, and creating a team of hundreds of lawyers to fight him. As a result, Donziger, who spent decades fighting for Indigenous communities and farmers grappling with the pollution resulting from oil extraction, now faces exorbitant fines and legal costs. He has also lost his passport, his income, his law license (though he’s fighting the decision), and his freedom."

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