The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered another blow to Patton Boggs when it reaffirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against Chevron Corp. and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
The opinion, published Friday, reaffirmed U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr.'s rejection of the case in August of last year. Patton appealed in December.
"At the same time that it filed its motion for reconsideration, Patton Boggs took the unusual step of filing a new, separate complaint asserting claims identical to those in the original lawsuit," Judge Thomas Griffith wrote on behalf of Chief Judge David Sentelle and Judge Janice Rogers Brown. "Patton Boggs had also failed to properly state a cause of action with its new theory."
Patton also sought a declaratory judgment that the firm could not be disqualified from representing the Ecuadorians because of its acquisition of the lobbying shop called Breaux Lott Leadership Group, which had previously done work for Chevron.
In its December filing, attorneys for Patton also claimed that Gibson Dunn and Chevron were intentionally trying to sever the ties between the Ecuadorian plaintiffs in the Chevron case and their source of funds, causing the Ecuadorians to breach their contract with Patton.
"This is much too vague," the opinion said. "It is unclear who Patton Boggs asserts breached what obligation. The claim that the Ecuadorian Plaintiffs breached their contract by 'non-payment' is contradicted by the admission that Patton Boggs 'never alleged that the Ecuadorian Plaintiffs were responsible for paying their litigation costs directly out of their own pockets.'"
Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutrous said in an interview that the firm was pleased with the court's ruling.
"Given these rulings and the clarity and the straightforward rejection of these claims, it really is a frivolous lawsuit," Boutrous said. He said that the matter hasn't distracted the firm from focusing on the larger matter in Ecuador. "We think that it would be unjust for any court to enforce any part of this bogus judgment," Boutrous said. "We have continued to focus our attention and energies on unearthing fraud and corruption."
"We are disappointed that the court concluded that there was insufficient detail in our pleadings," Patton Boggs partner James Tyrell Jr. said in a telephone interview. "We regret that we will not have the opportunity to develop those details in discovery."