On Tuesday, Patton Boggs filed a Mandamus Petition on behalf of certain defendants in the RICO litigation Chevron has brought challenging an allegedly fraudulent $18 billion dollar judgment against it in Ecuador. (Our previous posts on that action are here.) Patton Boggs represents the “LAPs” — members of indigenous and farming communities in Ecuador who were the prevailing plaintiffs in the underlying Ecuadorian action. Their petition asks the Second Circuit to vacate four orders issued by Judge Kaplan and reassign the matter to a different district judge.
According to the petition, in a January 26, 2012 decision, the Second Circuit “prohibited the district court from undertaking to declare…whether the Judgment handed down by a court in Ecuador in favor of the LAPs…is entitled to recognition in New York or any other jurisdiction” because the LAPs had not sought to enforce the judgment in New York. The petition argues that Judge Kaplan “has seized upon every procedural opportunity to do exactly what [that decision] forbade,” has “resurrected” Chevron’s claim for a declaration of non-recognition, and has evidenced an “inability to remain impartial and hostility toward [Ecuador's] judiciary and government. “