Donziger Is a Hero, Not a Charlatan

Invariably, when someone stands up to a bully, the bully claims to be the victim

By Richard Friedman, Wall Street Journal
3 November 2014

As one of Steven Donziger's trial counsel, I thought I would point out the obvious: Bret Stephens's book review of Law of the Jungle tells us little about Paul M. Barrett's book, and a lot about how sensationalized “facts” are used by Chevron, Mr. Barrett and the Journal to distract from the fundamental questions raised by 20 years of litigation. Instead of suggesting – without support – that the Ecuadorian visitors to New York would prefer “roast monkey,” over foods served at a fashionable restaurant, why not examine some serious questions: Why did Chevron fight for 10 years to keep an American court from reviewing its conduct in Ecuador? Why did Chevron lose the case once it was moved to Ecuador?

After launching its RICO suit against Steven Donziger, why did Chevron insist that no American jury should hear the case?

The answer to each question is the same: The conduct by Chevron in Ecuador is indefensible.

There are two possible answers to the question of how the indigenous people won the Ecuador case: Chevron deserved to lose, or Steven Donziger is a demigod, who, through his supernatural intellect and charisma, was able to best America's fourth largest corporation and the hundreds of lawyers who were given a blank check to fight him.

Arguing for the second alternative is like claiming that the sole protester in Tiananmen Square took advantage of the tanks facing him.

Invariably, when someone stands up to a bully, the bully claims to be the victim. How much better for Chevron to have Mr. Barrett and the Journal make claims of victimhood on its behalf.