Canadian Supreme Court rejects communities’ appeal to seize Chevron’s assets for enforcement of $9.5 billion Ecuador ruling over pollution of Amazon
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Author: Nia Williams, Reuters
The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday dismissed claims attempting to force Chevron Corp’s Canadian unit to pay a $9.5 billion judgment handed down in Ecuador against the U.S. oil major over pollution in the Andean country.
Residents of Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region have been trying to force Chevron to pay for water and soil contamination caused from 1964 to 1992 by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.
The villagers obtained a judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in 2011. But the company has no assets in the country, and the villagers have been trying to sue it in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to enforce the decision.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled in 2017 that Chevron Canada was a separate entity to its parent company and its shares and assets could not be seized by those seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment.
Canada’s highest court rejected a request to review that decision, which is now final.
“Any further efforts by the plaintiffs’ lawyers to continue this lawsuit in Canada would be an abuse of the country’s legal system and a waste of its judicial resources,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel...
Patricio Salazar, one of the lawyers for the affected communities, said the Supreme Court ruling left parent company Chevron Corp as the sole defendant and the communities would proceed immediately to trial to force the U.S. oil company to comply with the Ecuadorian judgment.
The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a request to review a decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario that a $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Corporation cannot be enforced against Chevron Canada Limited, an indirect subsidiary. The Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision, which is now final, dismissed all claims against Chevron Canada Limited, holding that it is a separate entity from Chevron Corporation and that its shares and assets cannot be seized by those seeking to enforce the corrupt Ecuadorian judgment. The Ecuadorian judgment itself has already been found by U.S. courts and an international tribunal in The Hague to have been obtained through fraud, bribery and corruption.
"We are pleased that the highest court in Canada has put an end to the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ attempts to enforce their corrupt Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron’s indirect subsidiary in Canada,” said R. Hewitt Pate, vice president and general counsel, Chevron Corporation...
The case of Chevron in the Ecuadorian Amazon: the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada closes the doors to end impunity
Author: Dismantle Corporate Power
The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples´ Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and End Impunity, a global network of over 200 organizations, movements, trade unions and communities affected by transnational corporations worldwide, regrets the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which has refused to admit the appeals filed by the communities affected by Chevron -formerly Texaco- in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
In 2015, the seven judges of the Supreme Court of Canada decided to accept jurisdiction to carry out an enforcement or “exequatur process” in Canada, upholding the legitimacy of the Ecuador Supreme Court´s decision on Chevron. This decision brought strong hopes to the indigenous communities...that justice could be achieved. However on May 23, 2018, the Court of Appeals of Ontario rejected the demands of the affected people, arguing that Chevron Canada is an autonomous and independent entity from the parent company Chevron and therefore with no obligation to the Ecuadorian justice system. This represented another heavy blow for the Ecuadorian indigenous people, who filed the appeal that has been rejected today.
It is worth remembering that Chevron´s operations in the Amazon deeply and negatively affected the lives of indigenous people, the ecosystem, water and common goods...
The ruling of the Ecuadorian Supreme Court is final and irrevocable, and therefore, the affected people will persist in their struggle for access to justice in other foreign jurisdictions until the damage is redressed.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada exposes once again the legal architecture that protects the impunity of transnational corporations...