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Judge Allows Chevron (CVX) Suit To Go Forward

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chevron (CVX) was given the green light to counter sue law firm Patton Boggs by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan in a ruling Monday afternoon.

Chevron alleges that the influential Washington D.C. lobbying firm engaged in fraud while it attempted to enforce a multibillion-dollar judgement against the oil company on behalf of a group of Ecuadorean villagers.

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A U.S. court ruled earlier this month that the judgement by Ecuadorean courts against Chevron was invalid due to clear evidence that the Patton Boggs legal team had used bribery, fraud and extortion to obtain the ruling. 

Chevron accuses Patton Boggs of hiding the fact that consultants hired by the plaintiff's legal team had written large parts of the report supporting the damage award.

The villagers had alleged that Texaco, which was subsequently acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field in the country between 1964 and 1992. The Ecuadorean court had awarded the plaintiffs in that case $18 billion in damages which the Ecuadorean Supreme Court later cut to $9.5 billion. 

Chevron closed trading Monday up 0.4% to $118.91.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CHEVRON CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CHEVRON CORP (CVX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • CVX's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.14 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.16, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 7.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • CHEVRON CORP's earnings per share declined by 30.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CHEVRON CORP reported lower earnings of $11.09 versus $13.32 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($11.19 versus $11.09).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 31.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $7,245.00 million to $4,930.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CVX Ratings Report
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