UPDATE 3-Proposed merger of Squire Sanders, Patton Boggs hits snag

jueves 22 de mayo de 2014 18:32 GYT

(Adds response by Patton Boggs; adds American Lawyer first reported stalled vote)

By Casey Sullivan

May 22 (Reuters) - The fate of the proposed merger of law firms Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders appeared uncertain on Thursday after Squire Sanders halted voting on approving the tie-up.

The deal was held up because of concerns over the role of Patton Boggs in a legal battle between Chevron Corp and a group of Ecuadorean villagers, a source close to the deal told Reuters.

On Tuesday, partners from the 300-lawyer Patton Boggs voted on the proposed merger with the 1,300-lawyer Squire Sanders. The source said that Patton Boggs partners had voted to approve it.

The executive board of Squire Sanders voted Friday to approve the merger and that firm's partnership had been expected to vote on it today, the source said.

But Thursday morning, the source said, Squire Sanders decided to hold off on the vote. The decision was prompted by a motion filed by a group of Ecuadorean villagers Wednesday in New York federal court related to Patton Boggs's prior involvement in a legal battle between Chevron and the villagers, the source said.

The motion urged a judge to reconsider his acceptance of a May 7 settlement resolving claims that Patton Boggs tried to enforce a fraudulent $18 billion pollution judgment against the oil giant on behalf of the Ecuadoreans.

Patton Boggs agreed to pay $15 million and cooperate with Chevron in discovery related to the case, and it expressed regret for its involvement.   Continuación...