Officials with Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus Consulting Inc. announced Thursday they had been misled by Steven Donziger, the lead attorney in the $19 billion “rainforest shakedown” lawsuit against Chevron. The text of their stunning news release appears below:
Stratus Consulting Inc. announced today that Chevron has dismissed with prejudice the fraud and racketeering claims against Stratus and two of its employees that were initiated by Chevron Corp. on February 1, 2011 in the U.S. District Court of New York. Stratus is pleased that these claims have been fully and finally resolved.
Chevron’s lawsuit alleged racketeering and fraud claims against Steven Donziger, the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, Stratus, and others relating to the long-running environmental trial against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. That trial resulted in an approximately $19 billion judgment against Chevron. Prior to the judgment, Stratus had been retained by Donziger, on behalf of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, to serve as an environmental consultant. Stratus’s environmental consulting work for Donziger was used in a report submitted to the Ecuadorian court by the supposedly “independent” court expert Richard Cabrera as part of a process that Stratus has learned was tainted by Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs representatives’ “behind the scenes activities.”
“Stratus believes that the damages assessment in the Cabrera Report and the entire Cabrera process were fatally tainted and are not reliable. Stratus disavows the Cabrera Report, has agreed to cooperate fully and to provide testimony about the Ecuador litigation.”
“Stratus deeply regrets its involvement in the Ecuador litigation. We are delighted to have this matter behind us.”
Thursday’s news came almost 27 months after I published an exclusive story about Stratus Consulting’s role in the lawsuit and, in so doing, scooped The New York Times by 100 days. Am I alone in thinking this news should serve as the proverbial “nail in the coffin” of the corruption-filled lawsuit against Chevron that began almost 20 years ago? No. The folks at BusinessWeek seem to have reached the same conclusion.
FYI: I’ve written and published nearly 60 pieces related to this lawsuit since April 22, 2009. Hopefully, this will be one of the last pieces I have to write.
UPDATE 4/12/2013 at 10:24 a.m. Central: Chevron issued a news release this morning in which Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel, said, “We are pleased that Stratus came forward to reveal the truth. We call on others with knowledge of the fraud tainting the trial in Ecuador to come forward and do the right thing.” Read the rest of the news release here.