Friday, May 09, 2014
When a law firm expresses regret that it became involved in a case, that is the closest one will get to an apology. Patton Boggs took a blow to its reputation and credibility for taking on the Chevron case, which according to the court was riddled with fraud. Predictably, the attorney who brought them the suit in the first place is saying that Big Oil has won the day again. But the circumstances behind the original court judgment in Ecuador were so seamy that an American jurist could not let it pass. Chevron had the duty to defend itself against a $9.5 billion penalty in Ecuador. Its defense was to show convincingly that justice is a travesty in the country. The $15 million settlement with Patton Boggs is but a drop in the bucket of what the company spent to fight back, but even if the company spent $100 million, that is nothing by comparison to the billions it would have paid. Chevron has regained its reputation from the court decision. Patton Boggs almost certainly will think deeply before it takes another case like this one again.