Vinson & Elkins was Enron’s main outside counsel in the company’s final days.
A filing expected in federal court as early as today will contain numerous documents aimed at supporting claims that V&E knew much more about troubles at the company than it has let on and should be liable for some of the billions of dollars in shareholder losses.
The accusations and many of the anticipated documents are far from new — a bankruptcy examiner spent several years and millions of dollars on behalf of Enron’s estate digging into the issue, concluding V&E and other firms that supported the energy giant may have committed malpractice.
But the documents, some of which were provided to the Chronicle by sources close to the case, could help persuade U.S. District Court Judge Melinda Harmon to leave V&E in the lawsuit as it heads for an October trial date.
Among the papers are voice mail message transcripts showing that as early as 1999, V&E attorneys questioned the propriety of Enron’s former chief financial officer doing business with the company through a side partnership. Also included are notes made by the current head of the firm expressing concerns that legal opinions the firm provided didn’t really satisfy accounting rules for millions of dollars in deals.
John Villa, an attorney with Williams & Connolly who is representing V&E, said the plaintiffs’ attorneys are trying to distort the record by taking information spread over many years and presenting it as if it was known by all the firm’s attorneys at one time.
“They’re looking backward into time, picking up isolated facts and lining them up without regard to who was aware of them and the significance they gave them,” Villa said.