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Keker Van Nest Fights Chevron RICO Suit

American Lawyer

On Friday, four days after an Ecuadorian court hit Chevron with a multibillion dollar judgment for despoiling the Lago Agrio region, the parties appeared before Manhattan federal district court judge Lewis Kaplan for a hearing on Chevron's request for a preliminary injunction. In a surprise appearance, white-collar defense lawyer John Keker showed up as counsel for embattled plaintiffs lawyer Steven Donziger. Donziger is also represented by Keker & Van Nest partners Elliot Peters and Jan Little.

Donziger is fighting a RICO suit filed by Chevron that casts him as the ringleader of a plaintiffs' team that, among other things, ghostwrote the report of a supposedly independent court-appointed expert in Ecuador. He's also fighting Chevron's efforts to keep the plaintiffs from enforcing their judgment. On Feb. 8, before the $8 billion judgment was issued, Judge Kaplan issued a 14-day temporary restraining order barring the Ecuadorian plaintiffs and their lawyers from advancing enforcement of an Ecuadorian award. On Monday, Judge Kaplan extended the TRO to March 8.

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Since founding the firm with law school classmate Bill Brockett in 1978, John Keker has built a reputation as one of the country's top trial lawyers. Four decades of jury trials in white collar criminal cases, complex commercial and intellectual property cases, antitrust and securities cases, even palimony cases, establish him as the lawyer clients turn to for their most important and high-profile litigation problems.

For three decades Elliot Peters has litigated, tried and advised clients in some of the nation's most high-profile, high-stakes complex commercial and white collar criminal cases. Mr. Peters has tried more than 50 cases on behalf of CEOs, leading law firms, and major corporations. He has been named Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer and The Recorder, was named the Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer, and was named one of the Top 100 Attorneys in California by the Daily Journal. 

For more than 25 years Jan Little has handled high-stakes criminal investigations and trials, and complex civil litigation for publicly-traded corporations, private companies, and senior executives. Ms. Little's criminal cases have included many substantive areas of white collar defense, including securities fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, foreign corrupt practice/commercial bribery, money laundering, and public corruption.