Chevron may drop damage claims against lawyer, hopes to avoid a jury

|About: Chevron Corporation (CVX)|By:, SA News Editor

Chevron (CVX) is weighing a surprising and savvy legal maneuver in its RICO suit against environmental lawyer Steve Donziger, the man behind the $19B judgment issued by an Ecuadorian court in 2011: It may drop damage claims against him worth potentially $100M.

If CVX follows through, it would effectively convert the case into a bench trial before a judge rather than a jury; Donziger would have no opportunity to play to jurors' emotions and prejudices.

For CVX, the case is about injunctive relief: If it can win the liability portion of its case, it would want to bar Donziger and his colleagues from trying to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment anywhere in the U.S.

CVX also likely would attempt to bar his and others' attempts to enforce the judgment abroad, though such a move would raise thornier, more controversial legal issues.