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Chevron Corp. v. Donziger

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 8, 2016

CHEVRON CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
STEVEN DONZIGER, THE LAW OFFICES OF STEVEN R. DONZIGER, DONZIGER & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, HUGO GERARDO CAMACHO NARANJO, JAVIER PIAGUAJE PAYAGUAJE, Defendants-Appellants, STRATUS CONSULTING, INC., DOUGLAS BELTMAN, ANN MAEST, Defendants-Counter-Claimants, Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Luis Yanza, Frente De Defensa De La Amazonia aka Amazon Defense Front, Selva Viva Selviva CIA, LTDA, Maria Aguinda Salazar, Carlos Grefa Huatatoca, Catalina Antonia Aguinda Salazar, Lidia Alexandra Aguinda Aguinda, Patricio Alberto Chimbo Yumbo, Clide Ramiro Aguinda Aguinda, Luis Armando Chimbo Yumbo, Beatriz Mercedes Grefa Tanguila, Lucio Enrique Grefa Tanguila, Patricio Wilson Aguinda Aguinda, Celia Irene Viveros Cusangua, Francisco Matias Alvarado Yumbo, Francisco Alvarado Yumbo, Olga Gloria Grefa Cerda, Lorenzo José Alvarado Yumbo, Narcisa Aida Tanguila Narváez, Bertha Antonia Yumbo Tanguila, Gloria Lucrecia Tanguila Grefa, Francisco Victor Tanguila Grefa, Rosa Teresa Chimbo Tanguila, José Gabriel Revelo Llore, María Clelia Reascos Revelo, María Magdalena Rodríguez Barcenes, José Miguel Ipiales Chicaiza, Heleodoro Pataron Guaraca, Luisa Delia Tanguila Narváez, Lourdes Beatriz Chimbo Tanguila, María Hortencia Viveros Cusangua, Segundo Angel Amanta Milán, Octavio Ismael Córdova Huanca, Elias Roberto Piyahuaje Payahuaje, Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje, Benancio Fredy Chimbo Grefa, Guillermo Vicente Payaguaje Lusitante, Delfín Leonidas Payaguaje Payaguaje, Alfredo Donaldo Payaguaje Payaguaje, Teodoro Gonzalo Piaguaje Payaguaje, Miguel Mario Payaguaje Payaguaje, Fermin Piaguaje Payaguaje, Reinaldo Lusitande Yaiguaje, Luis Agustín Payaguaje Piaguaje, Emilio Martín Lusitande Yaiguaje, Simon Lusitande Yaiguaje, Armando Wilfrido Piaguaje Payaguaje, Angel Justino Piaguage Lucitante, Defendants, ANDREW WOODS, LAURA J. GARR, H5, Respondents.

          Argued: April 20, 2015

          Final briefs submitted June 1, 2015

         Appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Lewis A. Kaplan, Judge, principally (1) enjoining defendants-appellants from seeking to enforce in the United States an $8.646 billion Ecuadorian judgment against plaintiff-appellee Chevron Corporation, and (2) imposing a constructive trust for Chevron's benefit on any property defendants-appellants have received or may receive anywhere in the world that is traceable to the Ecuadorian judgment or its enforcement. The district court found, following a bench trial, that the Ecuadorian judgment had been procured through, inter alia, defendants' bribery, coercion, and fraud, warranting relief against defendants Steven Donziger and his law firm under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, and against all defendants-appellants under New York common law. See 974 F.Supp.2d 362 (2014). Appellants challenge the district court's judgment principally on grounds of Article III standing, international comity, judicial estoppel, lack of legal authority for the granting of equitable relief, and/or lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants other than Donziger and his firm. Noting, inter alia, that appellants do not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the district court's factual findings, that the Ecuadorian appellate courts declined to hear and resolve the above charges of corruption and expressly preserved the parties' rights to litigate those charges in United States courts, and that the district court's judgment has imposed in personam restrictions on the appellants without disturbing the Ecuadorian judgment, we find no basis for overturning the judgment of the district court.

          THEODORE B. OLSON, Washington, D.C. (Randy M. Mastro, Andrea E. Neuman, Caitlin J. Halligan, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, New York, New York, William E. Thomson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, California, on the brief), for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          DEEPAK GUPTA, Washington, D.C. (Gregory A. Beck, Jonathan E. Taylor, Gupta Beck, Washington, D.C.; Justin Marceau, John Campbell, Denver, Colorado, on the brief), for Defendants-Appellants Steven Donziger, The Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger, and Donziger & Associates, PLLC.

          BURT NEUBORNE, New York, New York, for Defendants-Appellants Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje.

          Winston & Strawn, Washington, D.C. (Eric W. Bloom, Lauren B. Schuttloffel, Eric M. Goldstein, Nassim H. Hooshmandnia, of counsel), filed a brief for Amicus Curiae The Republic of Ecuador, in support of neither party.

          Gross Belsky Alonso, San Francisco, California (Jonathan Moore, Terry Gross, Adam C. Belsky, Monique Alonso, San Francisco, California; Thomas Bennigson, Public Good Law Center, Berkeley, California, of counsel), filed a brief for Amici Curiae Amnesty International, Amazon Watch, 350 Bay Area, Center for Environmental Health, CT Citizen Action Group, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, The International Accountability Project, Justice in Nigeria Now!, Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, Media Alliance, Pachamama Alliance, Rainforest Action Network, Rights Action and Sunflower Alliance, in support of Defendants-Appellants.

          Donald K. Anton, Canberra, Australia, filed a brief for Amici Curiae International Law Professors, in support of Defendants-Appellants.

          G. Robert Blakey, Paradise Valley, Arizona, filed a brief as Amicus Curiae, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Christopher J. Walker, Columbus, Ohio (Kate Comerford Todd, Tyler R. Green, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, Inc., Washington, D.C., of counsel), filed a brief for Amicus Curiae Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Faegre Bakers Daniels, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Aaron D. Van Oort, Jeffrey P. Justman, of counsel), filed a brief for Amici Curiae Keith S. Rosenn, Francisco Reyes, and Raul Nunez Ojeda, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Holwell, Shuster & Goldberg, New York, New York (Richard J. Holwell, of counsel), filed a brief for Amici Curiae Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Jurists, in partial support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Richard A. Samp, Washington, D.C. (Cory L. Andrews, Washington Legal Foundation, of counsel), filed a brief for Amicus Curiae Washington Legal Foundation, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Roger P. Alford, Notre Dame, Indiana, filed a brief for Amici Curiae Business Roundtable and International Law Scholars, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Jesse P. Levine, New York, New York (William B. Shipley, Genthod, Switzerland, of counsel), filed a brief for Amici Curiae Richard Janda, Juan C. Pinto, and Carolina Cruz Vinaccia, in support of Defendants-Appellants.

          Richard L. Herz, Washington, D.C. (Marco B. Simons, Jonathan G. Kaufman, Michelle Harrison, Benjamin Hoffman, of counsel), filed a brief for Amicus Curiae EarthRights International, in support of Defendants-Appellants.

          G. Elaine Wood, New York, New York, filed a brief for Amicus Curiae Legal Momentum, in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader, Los Angeles, California (K. Lee Crawford-Boyd, Los Angeles, California; Judith Kimerling, New York, New York, of counsel), filed a brief for Amici Curiae Proposed Huaorani Intervenors, in partial support of Defendants-Appellants.

          Before: KEARSE, PARKER, and WESLEY, Circuit Judges.

          KEARSE, Circuit Judge:

         Defendants-appellants Steven Donziger, Donziger & Associates, PLLC, and the Law Offices of Steven R. Donziger (collectively the "Donziger Firm" or "Firm"), and defendants-appellants Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo ("Camacho") and Javier Piaguaje Payaguaje ("Piaguaje"), appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Lewis A. Kaplan, Judge, granting certain relief against them in favor of plaintiff-appellee Chevron Corporation ("Chevron"), in connection with an $8.646 billion judgment obtained against Chevron in Ecuador ("Ecuadorian Judgment"), by several dozen named plaintiffs from Ecuador's Lago Agrio area (the "Lago Agrio Plaintiffs" or "LAPs") represented by the Donziger Firm, for environmental damage in connection with 1960s-1990s oil exploration activities in Ecuador by Texaco, Inc. ("Texaco"), whose stock was later acquired by Chevron. The district court's judgment, entered after a bench trial, principally (1) enjoins defendants-appellants from seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian Judgment in any court in the United States, and (2) imposes a constructive trust for Chevron's benefit on any property defendants-appellants have received or may receive anywhere in the world that is traceable to the Ecuadorian Judgment or its enforcement, based on the court's findings that the Ecuadorian Judgment was procured through, inter alia, defendants' bribery, coercion, and fraud, warranting relief against Steven Donziger ("Donziger") and his Firm under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, and against all defendants-appellants under New York common law. See Chevron v. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) ("Donziger"). Without challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support any of those factual findings, defendants-appellants challenge the district court's judgment, arguing principally that the action should have been dismissed on the ground that Chevron lacks Article III standing, and/or that the judgment should be reversed on the grounds, inter alia, that it violates principles of international comity and judicial estoppel, exceeds any legal authorization for equitable relief, and was entered without personal jurisdiction over defendants other than Donziger and his Firm. For the reasons that follow, including the absence of challenges to the district court's factual findings, the express disclaimers by the Ecuadorian appellate courts of their own jurisdiction to "hear and resolve" the above charges of corruption, "preserving the parties' rights" to pursue those charges in actions in the United States (Ecuadorian intermediate appellate court clarification order dated January 13, 2012, at 4; see also Opinion of Ecuadorian National Court of Justice at 120 ("preserving the rights and actions of the parties" in "acknowledge[ment of] the lack o[f] jurisdiction to decide whether or not there has been procedural fraud")), and the district court's confinement of its injunction to a grant of in personam relief against the three defendants-appellants without disturbing the Ecuadorian judgment, we find no basis for dismissal or reversal, and we affirm the judgment of the district court.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. BACKGROUND 10

         A. The Scope of the Trial in the Present Case 14

         B. Specific Findings by the District Court as to Donziger's Acts 17

         1. Donziger Attempts To Intimidate Chevron Into Settling by Trumpeting a Huge Remediation Cost Estimate Based Only on "SWAG" 17

         2. Donziger Causes a Change to Less Probative Tests When the LAPs' Experts Find Pollution that Likely Was Not Caused by Texaco 20

         3. Donziger Knowingly Submits to the Court Reports that Falsify a LAPs' Expert's Conclusions 21

         4. Donziger Secretly Hires Industry Experts To Offer Their Supposedly Neutral Monitoring Services to the Court, But To Disagree With Any Pro-Chevron Findings 23

         5. Donziger, Anticipating Additional Pro-Chevron Testing Results, Coerces then-Presiding Judge Yánez To Cancel Most of the Remaining Site Inspections 24

         6. Donziger Coerces Judge Yánez To Appoint a "Global" Expert--Cabrera--Who "[W]ould [T]otally [P]lay [B]all [W]ith" the LAPs 27

         7. Donziger and the LAPs Plan the Cabrera Report and Begin To Pay Him Secretly 30

         8. Donziger and the LAPs' Team Control Cabrera's "Work, " While Denying Any Contact or Involvement 32

         9. The LAPs' Consultant, Stratus, Writes Cabrera's Report 35

         10. Donziger Has Stratus Fabricate Objections To Be Submitted By the LAPs to the Cabrera Report that Stratus Wrote For the LAPs 37

         11. When "Crude" Is Released and Chevron Gets Discovery Revealing the LAPs-Cabrera Collaboration, Donziger Hires New Consultants To "Cleanse" the Cabrera Report 38

         12. The District Court's Summary 42

         C. The February 14, 2011 Lago Agrio Judgment 43

         D. Findings by the District Court as to the Sources and Authorship of the Lago Agrio Judgment 45

         1. The Lago Agrio Judgment Drew Heavily on the Cabrera Report 45

         2. Then-Presiding Judge Zambrano Did Not Write the Lago Agrio Judgment 48

         3. The Lago Agrio Judgment Was Written by the LAPs 51

a. The Judgment Copied Documents That Were Not in the Court Record but Were LAPs' Internal Documents 51
b. The LAPs' Team Prepared the Judgment, Beginning Work on It as Early as mid-2009 57

         4. The LAPs Bribed Zambrano To Sign the Judgment They Wrote 60

a. The Relationships Among Guerra, Zambrano, and the LAPs 61
b. Zambrano's Agreement With the LAPs 62
c. The LAPs-Written Judgment, Lightly Edited by Guerra 64

         E. The Ecuadorian Appellate Proceedings 65

         1. Appeals to an Appellate Panel 65

         2. Appeal to the Ecuadorian National Court of Justice 67

         F. The LAPs' Strategies To Enforce the Judgment 69

         G. The Final Judgment in the Present Action 70

         II. DISCUSSION 74

         A. Challenges to Federal Jurisdiction 75

         1. Article III Standing 75

         2. Mootness: The Break-in-Causation Theory 81

         B. The Judicial Estoppel Contention 86

         C. Naranjo 90

         D. The RICO-Based Rulings Against Donziger 94

         1. RICO Injury and Causation 99

         2. The Availability of Equitable Relief Under RICO 102

         E. The Availability of Equitable Relief Under New York Common Law 108

         F. Considerations of International Comity 113

         G. Contentions of the LAP Representatives 116

         1. Personal Jurisdiction 117

         2. Responsibility of the LAPs for the Misconduct of Their Attorneys 124

         H. Appropriateness of the Equitable Relief Granted 126

         CONCLUSION 127

         I. BACKGROUND

         This appeal is the latest chapter in the litigation against Chevron by residents of the Oriente region of Ecuador, which includes the canton of Lago Agrio, with respect to oil-exploration-related activities in that region from the 1960s into the 1990s by Texaco, whose stock was acquired by Chevron in 2001. In 1964, the Republic of Ecuador ("ROE") had granted to a joint venture--which was then 50%-owned by a subsidiary of Texaco dubbed "TexPet"--a concession to explore for and produce oil in the Oriente (the "Concession"). In the 1970s, Ecuador's state-owned oil company, now known as PetroEcuador, acquired at first a minority, and then a majority, interest in the joint venture. TexPet was the operator of the Concession until the early 1990s. In late 1989, PetroEcuador took over operation of the Trans-Ecuadoran Pipeline, see Jota v. Texaco, Inc., 157 F.3d 153, 156 n.4 (2d Cir. 1998) ("Jota"); in mid-1990, PetroEcuador took over operation of the Concession drilling operations as well, see id.; Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., 303 F.3d 470, 473 (2d Cir. 2002) ("Aguinda"). In mid-1992, when the Concession expired, TexPet's interest in the joint venture reverted to PetroEcuador, leaving PetroEcuador as the sole owner and operator of the venture. See Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 386.

In connection with the termination of TexPet's Ecuadorian operations, TexPet and Texaco in 1993 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with the ROE that provided that TexPet would be released from any potential claim for environmental harm once TexPet performed an agreed-upon remediation in the area in which it had operated. In the Spring of 1995, the parties executed a Settlement Agreement and Scope of Work agreement (the "Settlement Agreement") that laid out specific tasks TexPet was required to complete before its remediation and wind down were complete, whereupon it would be entitled to a release. From 1995 through 1998, ROE inspectors issued 52 actas in which they confirmed TexPet's completion of each task. The final acta--the 52nd Certificate--was issued in September 1998 and stated that TexPet had complied with its obligations under the Settlement Agreement. The final release was signed on September 30, 1998. It stated that TexPet had fully performed its obligations under the MOU and Settlement Agreement and that TexPet was released from all potential claims by the ROE and PetroEcuador.

Id. at 386-87 (footnotes omitted) (emphases added).

         In the meantime, a group of Oriente residents, represented by New York City lawyer Donziger, among others, commenced a class action against Texaco in the Southern District of New York in 1993, seeking billions of dollars in damages, as well as certain equitable relief within Ecuador, for alleged environmental damage in Ecuador and injury to the health of the plaintiffs, see Aguinda, 303 F.3d at 473-74. Thus began this conflict, which "must be among the most extensively [chronicled] in the history of the American federal judiciary." Chevron Corp. v. Naranjo, 667 F.3d 232, 234 (2d Cir.) ("Naranjo"), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 423 (2012); see id. at 234 n.1 (noting that an "underinclusive Westlaw search for Chevron or Texaco & Ecuador & 'Lago Agrio' yield[ed] fifty-six results, all of which deal directly with this litigation"); see, e.g., Jota, 157 F.3d 153 (vacating an unconditional forum non conveniens dismissal of class actions brought against Texaco in New York by, respectively, the Aguinda Oriente residents in 1993 and residents of Peru in 1994); Aguinda, 303 F.3d 470 (approving a forum non conveniens dismissal of the Oriente residents' 1993 New York action against Texaco, conditioned on Texaco's agreement to submit to personal jurisdiction and waive certain statute of limitations defenses in Ecuador); Chevron Corp. v. Berlinger, 629 F.3d 297 (2d Cir. 2011) (requiring filmmaker, whom Donziger had commissioned to make a documentary film about his Ecuadorian case, to turn over to Chevron hundreds of hours of outtakes, some of which had initially been aired--showing, inter alia, Donziger discussing his litigation strategy and disparaging the Ecuadorian judiciary--but were later deleted at Donziger's insistence); Republic of Ecuador v. Chevron Corp., 638 F.3d 384 (2d Cir. 2011) ("Republic of Ecuador") (affirming refusal to stay treaty-based arbitration proceeding commenced by Chevron in 2009 alleging, inter alia, ROE's breach of the 1993 Settlement Agreement with TexPet and Texaco and the 1998 release); Chevron Corp. v. Republic of Ecuador, 795 F.3d 200 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (affirming confirmation of an arbitration award of approximately $96 million in favor of Chevron against ROE in a proceeding commenced by Chevron in 2006 for failure to resolve in a timely fashion lawsuits by TexPet against ROE), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 2410 (2016).

         In 2003, following the affirmance of a forum non conveniens dismissal of the Aguinda case, the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs--Camacho, Piaguaje, and 46 other named plaintiffs residing in or near Lago Agrio--represented by the Donziger Firm, sued Chevron in Ecuador, seeking to hold it responsible for extensive environmental damage allegedly caused by Texaco in the area covered by the Concession (the "Lago Agrio Litigation" or "Lago Agrio Chevron case"). The action was brought for the benefit of some 30, 000 indigenous residents of the area, and the complaint requested that any money awarded for performance of the requested remediation--plus an additional 10%--be paid to the Frente de la Defensa de la Amazonia ("ADF") for its use in performing ordered remediation. See Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 391-92. Thus, the LAPs sought to have "any and all sums recovered" in the action controlled by the ADF. Id. at 392. The ADF was formed in 1993 by Donziger and Luis Yanza, his closest friend in Ecuador, to support the Aguinda litigation; the ADF was controlled by Donziger and Yanza. See, e.g., id. at 398-99.

         In February 2011, the trial court in Ecuador entered a judgment in favor of the LAPs awarding $8.646 billion in compensatory damages, plus $8.646 billion in punitive damages unless Chevron issued an apology, for a total of $17.292 billion ("Lago Agrio Judgment" or "Initial Judgment" or "Judgment"). The punitive damages aspect of the award was eventually eliminated on appeal (see Part I.E.2. below), leaving the judgment against Chevron, as modified, at $8.646 billion (the Ecuadorian Judgment).

         The present action was commenced by Chevron in 2011 against Donziger, his Firm, and the named Lago Agrio Plaintiffs, including Camacho and Piaguaje (referred to in the district court and this opinion as the "LAP Representatives"), alleging that the LAPs procured the Lago Agrio Judgment by a variety of unethical, corrupt, and illegal means, including: making secret payments to industry experts who would submit pro-LAPs opinions to the court while pretending to be neutral; announcing multi-billion-dollar remediation cost estimates while knowing them to be without scientific basis; persuading an expert to sign blank pages that were then submitted to the court with opinions he did not authorize; employing extortion to coerce an Ecuadorian judge to curtail inspections of alleged contamination sites after the experts began to find pro-Chevron conditions at other such sites; using the same extortionate means to coerce that judge to appoint, as a supposedly neutral expert court adviser, an expert who was bribed to submit--as his own opinion--a report written by the LAPs; and providing ex parte to another judge--or to whoever wrote the $17.292 billion Lago Agrio Judgment--material that is not part of the record for inclusion in that judgment.

         Chevron originally sought damages and a global injunction forbidding enforcement of the Lago Agrio Judgment. Initially, the district court bifurcated the case and granted Chevron's request for a global preliminary injunction, citing New York's Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act (the "Recognition Act"), N.Y. C.P.L.R. §§ 5301-5309 (McKinney 2008). That injunction was reversed by this Court in Naranjo, on the ground that the Recognition Act allows a judgment debtor to challenge a foreign judgment's validity only defensively, in response to an attempted enforcement. See 667 F.3d at 240. We declined to address other issues in this action, such as claims of lack of personal jurisdiction and "the parties' various charges and counter-charges regarding the Ecuadorian legal system and their adversaries' conduct of this litigation." Id. at 247 n.17.

         After our decision in Naranjo, Chevron waived its claims for damages, and the case was tried to the court without a jury.

         A. The Scope of the Trial in the Present Case

         The judgment now on appeal was entered after a seven-week trial at which the evidence included live testimony from more than 30 witnesses, 25 of whom were called by Chevron; deposition testimony of 22 witnesses, all presented by Chevron; and more than 4, 000 documents. As is common practice in nonjury cases in federal court in the Southern District of New York, "the direct testimony of most witnesses was taken in the form of written statements, the truth of which was affirmed on the witness stand. The witnesses so testifying then were tendered for cross-examination, redirect, and any subsequent questioning as usual." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 546. The exhibits included emails among Donziger and members of the LAPs' litigation team; scenes or outtakes from "Crude, " the documentary film that had been commissioned by Donziger, in which, inter alia, Donziger made disparaging remarks about the Ecuadorian judiciary; and portions of a personal notebook maintained by Donziger during the Lago Agrio Litigation, in which he recorded, inter alia, his thoughts, concerns, aspirations, and strategies (the "Donziger Notebook").

         The issues in the present case concerned the conduct of--not the environmental issues in--the Lago Agrio Litigation. Before making its findings of specific facts as to the issues in this case, the court stated:

The Court assumes that there is pollution in the Orienté. On that assumption, Texaco and perhaps even Chevron--though it never drilled for oil in Ecuador--might bear some responsibility. In any case, improvement of conditions for the residents of the Orienté appears to be both desirable and overdue. . . .
The issue here is not what happened in the Orienté more than twenty years ago and who, if anyone, now is responsible for any wrongs then done. It instead is whether a court decision was procured by corrupt means, regardless of whether the cause was just. An innocent defendant is no more entitled to submit false evidence, to coopt and pay off a court-appointed expert, or to coerce or bribe a judge or jury than a guilty one. So even if Donziger and his clients had a just cause--and the Court expresses no opinion on that--they were not entitled to corrupt the process to achieve their goal.
Justice is not served by inflicting injustice. The ends do not justify the means. There is no "Robin Hood" defense to illegal and wrongful conduct. And the defendants' "this-is-the-way-it-is-done-in-Ecuador" excuses--actually a remarkable insult to the people of Ecuador--do not help them. The wrongful actions of Donziger and his Ecuadorian legal team would be offensive to the laws of any nation that aspires to the rule of law, including Ecuador--and they knew it. Indeed, one Ecuadorian legal team member, in a moment of panicky candor, admitted that if documents exposing just part of what they had done were to come to light, "apart from destroying the proceeding, all of us, your attorneys, might go to jail."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 385-86 (quoting March 30, 2010 email from LAPs' attorney Julio Prieto to Donziger, Yanza, and LAPs' attorneys Pablo Fajardo Mendoza ("Fajardo"), and Juan Pablo Sáenz (emphases added)).

         The district court found that throughout the Lago Agrio Chevron case, Donziger controlled all important aspects of the case, see Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 396, 398, as he, inter alia, "supervised the Ecuadorian legal team, . . . reviewed their court filings, directed the legal strategy, and coordinated the work between the lawyers in Ecuador and the scientists, experts, lawyers, litigation funders, politicians, and media consultants throughout the world, " id. at 397. Although much of the Lago Agrio Litigation was funded by Philadelphia attorney Joseph Kohn, Donziger "made tactical and strategic decisions, " and "largely . . . controlled the money." Id. at 388-89, 398; see also id. at 396 (the Ecuadorian lawyers "often referred to [Donziger] as the 'cabeza, ' or head, of the team" (quoting Donziger Notebook)). Donziger described himself as "the 'lead lawyer, '" the "'person primarily responsible for putting [the LAP] team together and supervising it, '" the person who had the "'primary obligation'" to "'run the case on a day to day basis, '" and the person who "was 'at the epicenter of the legal, political, and media activity surrounding the case both in Ecuador and in the U.S.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 531 (quoting a Donziger November 9, 2009 email to Kohn, and a Donziger proposal to author a book).

         B. Specific Findings by the District Court as to Donziger's Acts

         The court made extensive factual findings as to the acts undertaken by Donziger to procure the Lago Agrio Judgment, including the following. None of them is disputed.

         1. Donziger Attempts To Intimidate Chevron Into Settling by Trumpeting a Huge Remediation Cost Estimate Based Only on "SWAG"

         The initial phase of the Lago Agrio proceedings was to involve "judicial inspections" to establish the level of contamination at various oil exploration sites throughout the Concession area under the supervision of the judge. The court appointed experts nominated and paid by each side, who were to take samples under judicial supervision, send the samples to a laboratory for testing and analysis, and then submit to the court written reports of their respective findings and conclusions. The court also appointed experts, known as "settling experts, " who, although ultimately paid by the parties, were neutral and not nominated by the parties; the settling experts attended the judicial inspections and were to resolve any disputes between the reports of the two sides' experts. See Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 411-12.

         Soon after the Lago Agrio Litigation was commenced, Donziger hired David Russell, an environmental engineer, to generate an initial estimate of the total cost of remediation for all polluted sites. Donziger hoped for an astronomic estimate that would have an in terrorem effect, impelling Chevron to agree to a settlement. See, e.g., id. at 406 & n.166. At Donziger's direction, Russell went to the Oriente in the fall of 2003 to work on his damages estimate. However, Russell's site inspections were anything but complete or thorough.

         First, although there were more than 100 oil pits that were to be subjected to judicial inspection, Russell visited only about 45. He made his estimate of the total cost of remediation based on extrapolations from what he observed at the sites he visited. But even at the sites he did visit, he did not analyze any soil or water samples. Indeed, "his visits to some of those sites, he acknowledged at trial, were no more searching than driving past them at 40 or 50 miles per hour." Id. at 406.

         Second, notwithstanding the facts that the ROE-owned PetroEcuador had long been a member of the oil-exploration and production joint venture with TexPet--and indeed was the majority owner of the venture from the mid-1970s until mid-1992, when it became the sole owner, see id. at 386--Donziger instructed Russell to make his cost calculations on "the assumption that Texaco was fully liable for all of the contamination in the region, even that caused by PetroEcuador after it took over operation of the [venture's] properties when TexPet left in 1992, " id. at 406 (footnote omitted). In part, Donziger's desire to have Chevron alone held liable for all environmental damage to the region stemmed from a reluctance to attribute any such blame to an instrumentality of the ROE; but he also had an incentive that was purely monetary: The LAPs had "entered into an agreement with the ROE and PetroEcuador pursuant to which [the LAPs] were obliged to reduce the amount of any judgment they might obtain against Texaco by the amount of any contribution judgment that Texaco might obtain against the ROE and PetroEcuador." Id. at 414-15. "The LAPs therefore had an interest in obtaining a judgment that Chevron was entirely responsible for any and all pollution liability and remediation responsibility." Id. at 415 (emphases added).

         In his report to the LAPs' team, Russell estimated the cost of remediation at $6 billion; but he made clear to Donziger and the other members of the LAPs' team that that cost projection was very rough, and he cautioned "the team not to 'rush to judgment' based on a 'guesstimate.'" Id. at 406 (quoting December 12, 2004 email chain with Russell, Donziger, and other LAPs' team members). Russell informed them that "due to 'the amount of unknowns and the lack of information [he] had with regard to not only levels of contamination but the extent of those levels of contamination[]'. . . . his estimates were 'best guesses based upon a week of looking at the sites, without any scientific data.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 406 (quoting testimony of Russell and December 12, 2004 email chain with Russell, Donziger, and other LAPs' team members (emphasis ours)). Russell testified that as a consequence, his $6 billion remediation cost estimate was "'SWAG, ' an acronym for a 'scientific wild ass guess.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 406 (quoting testimony of Russell).

         Nonetheless, "Donziger and his public relations operation avidly used Russell's $6 billion [SWAG] figure in the media to generate leverage despite the fact that they knew that it could not withstand serious analysis." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 407. Russell's "explicit" warning "to Donziger that [Russell's] cost estimate had been 'wildly inaccurate and that it should not be used' . . . . did not stop Donziger and his public relations team from using the number, over Russell's protests, to pressure Chevron through the media." Id. (quoting testimony of Russell (emphasis ours)).

         Donziger drafted a letter that ultimately was sent by Amazon Watch, a nongovernmental entity that supported Donziger and the LAPs, to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). The letter "promoted Russell's SWAG remediation estimate"--despite Russell's disclaimer--and "asserted also that Chevron had creat[ed] toxic contamination over 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez, " Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 408 (internal quotation marks omitted), despite advice from scientists on the LAPs' team that that figure was "vastly exaggerated, " id. at 408 n.185. The letter urged the SEC to investigate Chevron's alleged failure to disclose its alleged potential liability. Donziger's references to the Exxon Valdez and statements about the cost of remediation "relied upon estimates and comparisons that he knew were false or the truth of which he seriously doubted." Id. at 582 (emphasis added); see also id. at 409 (Donziger admitted in an email to his team that he felt that the SEC investigation he sought was "'bogus.'" (quoting July 12, 2006 email from Donziger to LAPs' team members)).

         2. Donziger Causes a Change to Less Probative Tests When the LAPs' Experts Find Pollution that Likely Was Not Caused by Texaco

         Consistent with Donziger's insistence that Russell operate on the assumption that all environmental damage had been caused by Texaco, Donziger also sought to cease certain tests that were producing evidence to the contrary. In late 2004, Russell met in New York with Donziger and other leaders of the LAPs' legal team and reported that scientists at the site inspections were in fact "'finding BTEX, which is benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene; and GRO, which is gasoline range organics, '" and that those findings were "'much more indicative of contamination from PetroEcuador rather than Texaco because these compounds are volatile and degrade quickly in [a] hot, wet, warm environment such as in the jungle.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 415 (quoting Russell testimony (emphases ours)). Texaco had not operated in the Concession area since more than a decade earlier.

         Following this report, Russell and his team of scientists, at the request of Donziger and other LAPs' team members, "'stopped analyzing for [BTEX and GRO]'" because their presence suggested "'more recent contamination, '" implicating "'PetroEcuador rather than Texaco.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 415 (quoting Russell testimony and Russell November 4, 2004 email to Donziger and others). They "'instead substitut[ed] a less reliable measure[, ] which was total petroleum hydrocarbons, ' or TPH, " and used methods that could give "'a false positive'" and that "were unable to distinguish between TPH attributable to recent activity and activity that occurred a considerable period earlier." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 415 (quoting testimony of Russell).

         3. Donziger Knowingly Submits to the Court Reports that Falsify a LAPs' Expert's Conclusions

         In 2004, Donziger and Russell nominated industrial hygienist Charles Calmbacher to serve as the LAPs' judicial inspection expert. See Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 412. Calmbacher served in that capacity at the first four judicial inspection sites; he was eventually fired by Donziger after falling ill and failing to meet deadlines set by Donziger and the LAPs' team. However, Calmbacher insisted that he would write his "perito"--i.e., expert--report to the court for the inspections in which he had participated because he had an obligation to do so. Calmbacher noted that

"it is highly unusual for a perito [expert] to allow others to contribute to the writing of a report. Comments or review is acceptable, but the perito's opinion and findings are final. I therefore have and feel no obligation to allow your team of textile engineers and associated cron[i]es to review or edit my reports. I am assured, as perito of the court, that I am completely within my rights to write and submit my report independent of [t]hose who have nominated me for appointment as perito. My sole obligation is to tell the truth, as I see it, to the court, no matter the consequences for either party."

Id. at 413 (quoting Calmbacher October 24, 2004 email to Donziger and Russell (emphases ours)).

         Thereafter, Calmbacher prepared two reports. The LAPs' lawyers in Ecuador edited them, and Calmbacher signed those edited versions because he "agreed with the conclusions reached" and had "'no problem signing [them] because that's what [he] felt.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 413 (quoting Calmbacher deposition). However, "those reports were not the reports that the LAP team eventually filed." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 413.

         Calmbacher testified that:

"[w]hat happened after that . . . was they asked me to initial some [blank] papers on the corner so [the report] could be printed on that because it had to be initialed. I said, no, I don't think so. David [Russell] implored . . . me to do that, that it was honest, it was fair, it was okay. So I did it. I think it was about 30 pages. And I FedEx'd it down . . . I overnighted it. That was the last I've heard on the project."

Id. (quoting Calmbacher deposition testimony (emphases ours)); see also Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 413 n.229 (noting evidence that Donziger was threatening not to pay Calmbacher for the work he had performed if he did not sign, and that "Russell sent an email to Donziger on March 1, 2005" stating "that he had 'communicated [Donziger's] threat to Calmbacher, ' and that Russell had 'also advised him that it was in his interest to comply by signing the documents and sending them to [Donziger].'" (quoting Russell March 1, 2005 email to Donziger)).

On February 14 and March 8, 2005, respectively, the LAP team submitted to the Lago Agrio court what purported to be the reports of their nominated expert for the judicial inspections of the Shushufindi 48 and Sacha 94 sites. They bore the signatures and initials of, and purported to have been written by, Dr. Calmbacher. The reports found that "highly toxic chemicals" contaminated the area and that TexPet's remediation was "inadequate or insufficient." When shown these reports at a deposition several years later, however, Dr. Calmbacher testified: "I did not reach these conclusions and I did not write this report."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 414 (footnotes omitted) (quoting Judicial Inspection Report for Sacha Well 94 and Calmbacher deposition (emphasis ours)).

         Calmbacher had "never concluded that TexPet had failed to remediate any site or that any site posed a health or environmental risk." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 414 (footnote omitted) (emphasis added). The submitted "reports were not the reports he wrote and did not reflect his views." Id. "Thus, someone on the LAP team used the blank pages Calmbacher had initialed and his signature pages to submit over his name two reports that contained conclusions he did not reach. . . . [S]omeone on the LAP Ecuadorian legal team revised his draft reports, printed them on the blank pages that Dr. Calmbacher initialed, and filed them with knowledge of the falsity." Id. (emphasis added).

         4. Donziger Secretly Hires Industry Experts To Offer Their Supposedly Neutral Monitoring Services to the Court, But To Disagree With Any Pro-Chevron Findings

         An inspection site called Sacha-53 was of particular interest to the LAPs because Texaco had performed remediation on it pursuant to its Settlement Agreement with the ROE, and Donziger had expected the test results would provide "'the first definitive scientific proof in the case to put the lie to their claim they remediated.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 416 (quoting Donziger November 11, 2004 email to other members of the LAPs' team). When Donziger learned, however, "that the settling experts' conclusions with respect to Sacha-53 would not be favorable to the LAPs, " he attempted to insert "outwardly credible, " supposedly neutral experts into the process, in order to undermine the settling experts' anticipated conclusion. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 416. He recruited two new experts: Gustavo Pinto, the president of the Association of Geological, Mining, Petroleum and Environmental Engineers of Ecuador, and Ramiro Fernando Reyes Cisneros ("Reyes"), an Ecuadorian petroleum and environmental engineer. Donziger secretly paid Pinto and Reyes--an amount he characterized as modest but which he admitted may have been $50, 000--to pose as "independent monitors" and to criticize the settling experts' anticipated Sacha-53 conclusions, without disclosing to Chevron or the court that the LAPs were paying them. See id. at 416-19.

         In addition to that fee, it was agreed that these experts could receive a bonus if the LAPs won the case, see id. at 417. Donziger elaborated that the LAPs were "'not paying for time, but for value, '" id. at 418 (quoting Donziger Notebook). "Donziger well understood that the arrangement was improper"; he termed it his "'bargain with the devil.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 417 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis in Donziger)).

         Donziger's efforts in this regard proved futile. Judge Germán Yánez, who presided over the Lago Agrio case from January 2006 until October 2007, declined to appoint monitors.

         5. Donziger, Anticipating Additional Pro-Chevron Testing Results, Coerces then-Presiding Judge Yánez To Cancel Most of the Remaining Site Inspections

         The report on Sacha-53 filed by five settling experts in February 2006--of which the LAPs' team apparently had an advance copy (see Plaintiff's Exhibit ("PX") 1530 (Pinto and Reyes January 17, 2006 letter to Lago Agrio court, referring to settling experts' report "dated Feb. 1, 2006")) --stated that "Texaco had fully remediated" that site. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 418. "Donziger characterized the report as 'disastrous' for the LAPs' team." Id. (quoting Donziger Notebook).

         Donziger promptly attempted to have Pinto and Reyes, the would-be monitors he had paid (see Part I.B.4 above), submit to the court a report of their own "'establish[ing]'" that the settling experts were wrong and were biased in favor of Chevron, and that the settling experts' report should be disregarded. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 418-19 (quoting Reyes declaration, the accuracy of which Reyes attested to at his deposition, see Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 416 n.247). However, the report Pinto and Reyes drafted ultimately concluded that the settling experts' report was sufficient to allow the court to reach its own conclusion, and Donziger instructed them not to file it with the court. See id. at 419.

         Sacha-53 was the first site as to which the court requested a report from the settling experts. Seeking to reduce the risk of additional findings unfavorable to the LAPs, Donziger requested that the court cancel 26 of the remaining judicial inspections, characterizing them as unnecessary. Judge Yánez denied the request.

         However, the LAPs then moved to forgo virtually all the remaining inspections, claiming that the evidence of contamination was clear and abundant; and after further communications from the LAPs' team, Judge Yánez decided to cancel most of the remaining planned judicial inspections, leaving to be performed only four that the LAPs wanted pursued. His decision came about as follows.

Donziger and the LAP team knew that Judge Yánez was in a weakened state. He recently had been accused of "trading jobs for sex in the court" and was worried about his reputation and perhaps career. They were determined to use that to their advantage.

Id. at 421 (footnote omitted) (quoting Donziger July 26, 2006 email to Kohn).

         Fajardo, a relatively recent law graduate whom Donziger had made the LAPs' lead Ecuadorian trial counsel, informed Donziger that there was a belief at the court that the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs were behind the sexual harassment complaint against Judge Yánez. Both Fajardo and Donziger's close friend Yanza felt that that belief--though it was erroneous--could be used to the LAPs' advantage. Donziger described his response to this information in his Notebook as follows:

"At [this] pt I launched into my familiar lecture about how the only way the court will respect us is if they fear us--and that the only way they will fear us is if they think we have . . . control over their careers, their jobs, their reputations--that is to say, their ability to earn a livelihood."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 421 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis in Donziger)). Donziger decided to exploit the belief that the LAPs were the source of the sexual harassment complaint: "[T]he LAP team 'wrote up a complaint against Yánez, but never filed it, while letting him know we might file it if he does not adhere to the law and what we need.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 421 (quoting Donziger Notebook).

Donziger explained in an email to Kohn that Fajardo then met with the judge, who "said he is going to accept our request to withdraw the rest of the inspections save the four we still want to do. . . . The judge also . . . wants to forestall the filing of a complaint against him by us, which we have prepared but not yet filed."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 421 (quoting Donziger July 26, 2006 email to Kohn). Thus, "Donziger knowingly was complicit both in the preparation of a misconduct complaint against Judge Yánez and in threatening the judge with the filing of the complaint unless the judge did what the LAPs[] wished him to do." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 421 n.295.

Faced with this coercion, Judge Yánez granted the request to cancel the LAPs' remaining judicial inspections. Donziger and Fajardo succeeded also in convincing the judge that he should "fear" the LAP team.

Id. at 422 (footnote omitted) (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis added)); see, e.g., Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 558 (noting "clear and convincing evidence[] that Fajardo and Donziger coerced Judge Yánez to allow the LAPs to terminate their remaining judicial inspections").

After Judge Yánez issued the order [canceling the remaining inspections], Donziger on September 13, 2006, wrote that the judge "told Luis [Yanza] that we needed to back him now as he fights for survival on the court. So instead of a strong judge who sees the validity of the case, we now might have a weak judge who wants to rule correctly [i.e., for the LAPs] for all the wrong, personal reasons."

Id. at 422 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphases ours)).

         6. Donziger Coerces Judge Yánez To Appoint a "Global" Expert--Cabrera--Who "[W]ould [T]otally [P]lay [B]all With" the LAPs

         Donziger had initially been opposed to there being "a single global expert" to advise the court in the Lago Agrio Chevron case, Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 420, the "'[b]ottom line problem'" being his fear that "'we will have no control over [him], '" id. at 422 (quoting Donziger Notebook).

But the coercion of Judge Yánez eliminated that "bottom line problem." Donziger had found himself with "a weak judge who wants to rule correctly for all the wrong, personal reasons, " among them the fear that the LAPs would file their judicial misconduct complaint against him at a time when he least could withstand it. Donziger therefore expected to be able to select and to control the global expert. That is exactly what then took place.

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 422 (footnote omitted) (quoting Donziger Notebook).

With these pieces in place, Donziger and the LAP team moved on to finding a compliant global expert. The idea was that the global expert--just like the "monitoring" experts, Reyes and Pinto, who ultimately had not been appointed--in fact would work for the LAPs but would appear to be independent and neutral. This required Donziger to find someone who, in Donziger's own words, would "totally play ball with" him.

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 422 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis ours)).

         Donziger's leading candidate, initially, was Reyes, with whom Donziger was familiar from the Sacha-53 events, despite the fact that Reyes had written a book on oil exploration's environmental impacts in Ecuador, in which he "had 'advocated for joint responsibility between the Ecuadoran government and Texaco, '" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 423 n.309 (quoting declaration of Reyes). Donziger, Fajardo, and Yanza, interviewing Reyes in 2006,

"explained to [Reyes] that having a single expert to carry out a global assessment was important to the plaintiffs because they acknowledged that the judicial inspection process had not yielded data to support their claims of contamination. They also said they believed it would be easier to manage a single expert than many."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 422 (quoting declaration of Reyes (emphasis ours)). "[D]etermined to ensure that Reyes would 'totally play ball with us and let us take the lead while projecting the image that he is working for the court, '" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 423 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis in Donziger)), Donziger "reminded Reyes that, as the global expert, he would 'need . . . to state that Chevron was the only party responsible for environmental damages and the harm to the local community, '" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 423 (quoting declaration of Reyes (emphasis ours)).

         "Donziger told Reyes 'that if he did this he likely would never work in the oil industry again in Ecuador, at least for an American company, but that he could be a national hero and have a job the rest of his life being involved in the clean-up, '" since "Donziger . . . expected to be able to deliver[ ]long-term, remunerative employment paid for by the ADF, " which was "controlled by Donziger and Yanza, " and was what "[t]he Lago Agrio complaint identified . . . as the entity to which the LAPs wanted any recovery money paid." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 423 (quoting Donziger Notebook (emphasis in Donziger)).

         Reyes agreed, and Fajardo and Yanza tried to persuade Judge Yánez to appoint Reyes as the global expert. Judge Yánez balked, however, because both sides had previously agreed that the court's global expert would be one of the experts already appointed by the court. As a result, the LAPs' team shifted focus to José Echeverria and Richard Cabrera Stalin Vega ("Cabrera"), both of whom previously had been designated as settling experts.

         Of the two, Donziger's choice was Cabrera. In interviewing Cabrera and "giv[ing] him the 'hard sell, '" Donziger explained to him the same fundamental conditions and cautions, and gave "the same implicit promise of lifetime work on the remediation to Cabrera that he had made previously to Reyes. . . . Cabrera agreed to the plan." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 424. The LAPs' team continued to meet ex parte with Judge Yánez to have him choose Cabrera as the global expert, and by some time in February they were sure he would appoint Cabrera. See, e.g., id. at 558 (noting "clear and convincing evidence[] that Fajardo and Donziger coerced Judge Yánez . . . to appoint a global expert, and to designate their hand-picked choice, Richard Cabrera, for that position").

         On March 3, 2007, Donziger, Fajardo, and Yanza called the entire LAPs' team together for a meeting.

The purpose of the meeting, as will appear in more detail, was to plan the global expert report. So sure were Donziger and Fajardo of Cabrera's appointment that the supposedly independent and impartial Cabrera . . . w[as] present.

Id. at 425 (emphases added). Donziger allowed this meeting to be filmed for the documentary "Crude, " and he

explained the importance of the meeting to the Crude camera even before the meeting began:
Today is . . . a very important day 'cause we're meeting with . . . our team of Ecuadorian technical people and our American consultants . . . to figure out how to . . . pull all that information together for the final report we're gonna submit to the court, that is gonna ask for damages that'll very likely be in the multiple billions of dollars.

Id. (quoting March 3, 2007 "Crude" film clip (emphases in Donziger)). Those present at the meeting included Reyes and Ann Maest, a scientist who was working with the LAPs and who worked also for the Boulder, Colorado-based environmental consulting firm, Stratus Consulting ("Stratus"). Parts of the meeting itself were filmed:

Yanza began by introducing the participants and setting out the general agenda. He introduced Cabrera to the full team for the first time. Fajardo . . . explain[ed] that, while Cabrera was likely to be appointed the global expert, "the work isn't going to be the expert[']s." . . . Fajardo [stated] "what the expert is going to do is state his criteria, alright? And sign the report and review it. But all of us, all together, have to contribute to the report." Maest commented, "But . . [.] not Chevron, " which provoked laughter. The video clips of the meeting ended with Donziger commenting, they could "jack this thing up to $30 billion in one day."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 425-26 (footnotes omitted) (quoting March 3, 2007 "Crude" film clips (emphases ours)). Thus,

"[a]t the [March 3] meeting, Mr. Fajardo, Mr. Yanza and Mr. Donziger dropped any pretense that Mr. Cabrera would act independently in writing an expert report that would be technically sound and executed according to professional standards. On the contrary, it was obvious that the plaintiffs had already predetermined the findings of the global assessment, that they themselves would write a report that would support their claim for billions of dollars against Chevron and would simply put Mr. Cabrera's name on it. The purpose of the meeting was to establish all the conditions for controlling and managing the expert's work, in secret, in accordance to the plaintiffs' interests."

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 426 (quoting declaration of Reyes (emphases ours)).

         Donziger met again on March 4, 2007 with some of his American experts, and parts of this meeting too were filmed. One of the experts commented that having Cabrera at the March 3 meeting had seemed bizarre. "Donziger quickly told him not to talk about that and told the film crew 'that was off the record . . . .' Thus, right from the start, Donziger evidenced his intent that the intimate relationship he had forged with Cabrera would not be allowed to see the light of day." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 426 (footnote omitted) (quoting March 4, 2007 "Crude" film clip (emphasis ours)).

         7. Donziger and the LAPs Plan the Cabrera Report and Begin To Pay Him Secretly

         Cabrera was not sworn in as the court's global expert until June 2007. But following the March 3 and 4 meetings, the LAPs' team prepared a "work plan that supposedly was to be done by Cabrera, " and "Fajardo sent the initial draft to Donziger for his approval" on March 21. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 427. The plan

laid out all of the required tasks including such things as the selection of sites to be studied, field work, drafting of the report, and its submission to the court. It assigned responsibility for each item, in most cases to members of the LAP team or their hired consultants. Cabrera was allotted responsibility for relatively little.

Id. The plan provided for the initial draft of the Cabrera report to be prepared in conjunction with LAPs' personnel and be reviewed by the LAPs' lawyers. "[T]he work plan was submitted to Donziger, who led the entire effort." Id. at 427 n.342. "Donziger . . . instructed all those associated with the preparation of the Cabrera Report to keep their work highly confidential." Id. at 427.

         Knowing in advance that Cabrera was to be sworn in as the global expert, the LAPs' team had, in April, begun secretly giving him money--in addition to the court-ordered payments he would receive, see id. at 428, 431-32--despite the fact that "experts are prohibited under Ecuadorian law from requir[ing] or receiv[ing] anything of value, whether directly or indirectly, from the parties in the case, " id. at 434 (internal quotation marks omitted); see id. ("'[a]nyone who bribes a[n] . . . expert . . . or who knowingly uses false . . . experts in a court proceeding . . . will be punished as guilty of false testimony or perjury.'" (quoting Ecuador Crim. Code Art. 359)). In June, Donziger and his team set up a new and secret bank account through which they could pay Cabrera surreptitiously. See Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 428, 432. In July, "believ[ing] that supporting Cabrera in every way was necessary to maintaining the 'control' over him upon which Donziger insisted, " the LAPs also "entered into a contract with Cabrera, provided him with a secretary ([the girlfriend of LAPs' attorney Prieto]), . . . and provided other support" including "life insurance." Id. at 435.

         Less than two weeks later, after Chevron questioned Cabrera's independence, Cabrera represented to the Lago Agrio court, "'I do not have any relation or agreements with the plaintiff, and it seems to me to be an insult against me that I should be linked with the attorneys of the plaintiffs.'" Id. at 447 (quoting Cabrera July 23, 2007 letter to Lago Agrio court); see also Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 447 & n.488 (describing Cabrera's repeated denials of connections with the LAPs). The LAPs' lawyers themselves termed Chevron's challenges to Cabrera's independence "baseless." Id. at 447-48 (internal quotation marks omitted).

          The money the LAPs paid Cabrera secretly was initially sent to Yanza's personal account so that he could open a new account in someone else's name--although Donziger worried about having any of the money pass through Yanza's account. Eventually a preexisting ADF account was repurposed to serve as the secret account. See id. at 432.

Between August 2007 and February 2009, Donziger had Kohn make three separate payments totaling $120, 000 via wire transfer to the secret account. A large portion of this money was paid to Cabrera via direct account-to-account transfers at Banco Pichincha.

Id. at 432-33 (footnote omitted). "[A]t least part of the[se payments] were made as part of even more extensive efforts to ensure that Cabrera 'would totally play ball with' the LAPs and with other U.S. consultants whom the LAPs had hired to draft the report Cabrera would file under his name." Id. at 434-35.

         8. Donziger and the LAPs' Team Control Cabrera's "Work, " While Denying Any Contact or Involvement

         The LAPs' team "also supported and controlled [Cabrera's] work in the field." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 435. Cabrera began his field work in July 2007. After being sworn in in June, he had

submitted what purported to be his work plan to the court. While this was more abbreviated than the detailed March 21 plan initially prepared by the LAP team, it too in fact had been written by the LAP team. It listed categories of experts who would assist in collecting samples in the field and analyzing data--all of whom secretly would be named by the LAP team.

Id. at 430 (footnotes omitted) (emphases added). At the ensuing inspections,

when Cabrera took samples at various sites . . . the[ Chevron attorneys] observed what seemed to them to be collaboration and familiarity between Cabrera--the supposedly independent global expert--and the LAP team. In addition, unlike the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs' representatives, Chevron lawyers and . . . technical team members were often blocked from observing up close Cabrera's inspections.

Id. at 431 (footnote and internal quotation marks omitted). When Chevron repeatedly complained to the court, the court "merely reminded Cabrera 'that [Cabrera] is an auxiliary to the Court for purposes of providing to the process and to the Court scientific elements for determining the truth' and asserted that '[t]he transparency of the expert's work will be ensured.'" Id. (quoting October 3, 2007 Lago Agrio court order).

Chevron had reason to be suspicious of Cabrera's field work, which was anything but transparent. Among other things, Donziger later admitted that the LAP team "had [also] been involved in Mr. Cabrera's site selection" and his "sampling protocols." Indeed, he conceded that he could not recall a single site Cabrera sampled that the LAPs had not "recommended" to him.

Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 431 (footnote omitted) (quoting Donziger deposition and trial testimony (emphases ours)). "[T]he LAP team had chosen the sites which Cabrera was to visit and, when the team's funds began to run low, sought to limit the number of sites even further. All the while, the LAPs knew, " as Donziger told his team, "that--for the samples [Cabrera] did collect--they could simply 'change the focus of the data at [their] offices.'" Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 436 (quoting Donziger July 17, 2007 email to Yanza and Fajardo (emphasis ours)).

         The "team" of Ecuadorian technical people and American consultants to which Donziger referred in the March 3, 2007 meeting shown in the "Crude" film clips included consultants and scientists who were hired to perform technical work supposedly to be done by Cabrera and to write the report that Cabrera would file under his name. For example, one "supposedly independent expert on Cabrera's supposedly independent technical team" was an employee of "an environmental consulting firm Kohn and Donziger had hired and paid to develop a potable water report." Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d at 436. That employee wrote what ultimately became an appendix to the Cabrera Report. The fact that the LAPs' team had hired and was paying his employer was not disclosed to the Lago Agrio court. See id.

         Other members of the LAPs' team, including Douglas Beltman, were employees of Stratus, which had signed a retention agreement with Kohn in August 2007 to write Cabrera's report to the court. "The agreement specified that Stratus would provide regular updates on the progress of [its] work with Mr. Steven Donziger via phone or email, " and "[t]hroughout the rest of 2007 and early 2008, Beltman, Maest, and others at Stratus consulted with Donziger and worked on preparing the damages assessment." Id. at 440 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In the meantime, Donziger was asking Mark Quarles, another "of the outside consultants hired by the LAPs to, among other things, work on the global expert report supposedly done by Cabrera, " to submit in related litigation a declaration that would assert, "'if true: Mr. Cabrera has at all times acted independently from both the plaintiffs and the defendant. At no time has Mr. Cabrera entertained suggestions or even met with plaintiffs or their representatives regarding his current work plan.'" Id. at 438 (quoting Donziger September 16, 2007 email to Quarles (bolding in email) (italics ours)). Donziger's "inclusion of the words 'if true' were nothing more than a misguided attempt to cover himself, " because

Donziger . . . knew that the statements he proposed that Quarles make in his declaration would have been false. Among other things, Donziger had been at the March 3, 2007 meeting with Cabrera and others at which the LAPs laid out the plan they had prepared. Donziger knew also that the LAPs controlled Cabrera's site selections and that ...

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