Canadian Supreme Court rules Ecuadorian plaintiffs can sue Chevron to enforce Ecuadorian oil pollution judgment

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Article
30 September 2015

Lawyer for Ecuadorian victims of Chevron oil pollution calls Canadian Supreme Court decision to hear the case "a great triumph”

Author: James North, Huffington Post (USA)

“Ecuadorean Rainforest Communities Continue Their Long Fight Against Chevron”, 25 Sep 2015

…For more than two decades, 30,000 poor farmers…have campaigned for environmental justice against the Chevron corporation, which they accuse of polluting vast stretches of their territory.  On September 4, Canada's high court ruled unanimously that the Ecuadoreans can put the American oil giant on trial in Toronto, in an effort to seize $9.5 billion in damages from its Canadian subsidiary…Pablo Fajardo, the 42-year-old lead attorney for the 30,000 plaintiffs…called the Canadian decision "a great triumph,"…But, he cautioned: "No one here is celebrating anything. There is happiness, because we have more hope, but we are conscious that Chevron is very powerful and we have a lot more work ahead of us to win this long battle."...The Canada court decision also has broader implications worldwide.  If the 30,000 Ecuadorean farmers do win in the end, they will have set an inspiring example, showing that environmental justice across borders is possible even against a colossus like Chevron…

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Article
18 September 2015

Canadian Supreme Court sets precedent in allowing plaintiffs to seek enforcement of Ecuadorian oil pollution judgement against Chevron in Canada

Author: Joyce Nelson, Counter Punch (USA)

“Ecuador vs. Chevron, By Way of Canada”, 16 Sep 2015

…Canada’s Supreme Court ruled on September 4th that Ecuadorian villagers can seek to enforce an Ecuadorian legal judgment in Canada for $9.5 billion against Chevron Corporation for polluting the Amazon rainforest.  The plaintiffs were successful in arguing that since Chevron owns at least $15 billion worth of assets in Canada…they can pursue the case in Ontario courts…Chevron Corp. argued that its Canadian assets don’t belong to the parent company, but to a subsidiary called Chevron Canada Ltd.  But the high court rejected the company’s arguments…Chevron denies liability for the contamination, saying the pollution was cleaned up after Texaco pulled out of Ecuador in 1992.  The company also asserts that the Ecuadorian government released the company from further responsibility, and Chevron calls the case “the legal fraud of the century”…The ruling weakens the so-called ‘corporate veil’ that has shielded subsidiaries from responsibility for the actions of their corporate parents…[T]he Supreme Court ruling has set an important historical precedent, with potentially far-reaching implications.

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Article
4 September 2015

Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje

Author: Supreme Court of Canada

Canadian courts, like many others, have adopted a generous and liberal approach to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. To recognize and enforce such a judgment, the only prerequisite is that the foreign court had a real and substantial connection with the litigants or with the subject matter of the dispute, or that the traditional bases of jurisdiction were satisfied. There is no need to demonstrate a real and substantial connection between the dispute or the defendant and the enforcing forum. In actions to recognize and enforce foreign judgments within the limits of the province, it is the act of service on the basis of a foreign judgment that grants an Ontario court jurisdiction over the defendant. To conclude otherwise would undermine the important values of order and fairness that underlie all conflicts rules, and would be inconsistent with this Court’s statement that the doctrine of comity must be permitted to evolve concomitantly with international business relations, cross‑border transactions, and mobility.

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Article
4 September 2015

Ecuadorians can sue Chevron in Canada, Supreme Court rules

Author: Sean Fine, Global and Mail (Canada)

Ecuadorian villagers can sue Chevron and its Canadian subsidiary in an Ontario court to enforce a $9.5-billion (U.S.) judgment from Ecuador, the Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling has major implications for Canadian multinational companies whose business activities raise environmental or human rights concerns around the globe. The ruling weakens the so-called “corporate veil” that has shielded subsidiaries from responsibility for the actions of their corporate parents. “In a world in which businesses, assets, and people cross borders with ease, courts are increasingly called upon to recognize and enforce judgments from other jurisdictions,” Justice Clément Gascon wrote in a 7–0 ruling.

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