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2 Sep 2011

Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal

Despite Old Ruling, Chevron Cleared to Challenge Ecuadorean Courts [USA]

Chevron is not judicially estopped from challenging the fairness of the Ecuadorean judicial system as it fights the enforcement of a multi-billion dollar environmental damage award, Southern District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has ruled. In an opinion...Judge Kaplan rejected a motion for judgment on the pleadings brought by two Ecuadoreans who were among the winners in February when a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, ordered Chevron to pay $18 billion for environmental degradation of rain forests and rivers during Texaco's oil operations there between 1964 and 1992...Judge Kaplan said that, in making its forum non conveniens argument, "Texaco and Texaco alone" consented to jurisdiction in Ecuador. "For the sake of clarity, it is important to emphasize that the pleadings in this case are entirely devoid of any allegations that Texaco merged with or into Chevron or, indeed, any subsidiary of Chevron," he said. "Nor are there any allegations that would support piercing the corporate veil, treating Chevron as Texaco's alter ego, or otherwise disregarding the separate corporate existence of Texaco."