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Chevron lawsuit (re Nigeria)

In 1999, a group of Nigerians of the Niger Delta region, where Chevron engages in oil production activities, brought a lawsuit against Chevron in US federal court.  The plaintiffs allege that they suffered human rights violations, including torture and summary execution, at the hands of the Nigerian military and police acting in concert with Chevron to suppress the plaintiffs’ protests against Chevron’s environmental practices in the Niger Delta.  The claims against Chevron are based on two incidents.  First, two protestors were shot by Nigerian military and police allegedly recruited by Chevron at its Parabe offshore platform.  Second, two Nigerian villages, Opia and Ikenyan, were attacked by Nigerian soldiers using helicopters and boats allegedly leased and/or owned by Chevron, and these attacks allegedly caused the death and injury of a number of villagers. 

In March of 2007, a federal judge dismissed the federal racketeering claims against Chevron, but the judge declined to dismiss the remaining nine claims made by the plaintiffs.  In August of 2007, a federal judge issued a series of decisions regarding Chevron's motions for summary judgment.  The judge's orders narrowed the lawsuit,but the plaintiffs' central claims regarding Chevron's complicity in human rights violations were allowed to stand.  On 1 December 2008, the federal jury cleared Chevron of the charges in this case.  In March 2009, the federal judge denied the plaintiffs' request for a new trial, finding that the evidence presented at trial supported the jury's verdict.  The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2009.  The Court of Appeals heard the appeal in June 2010.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding the verdict of the trial court.  The plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court on 20 June 2011 asking the court to hear an appeal in this case.  In late April 2012 the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

- "Chevron Reaches End of Torture Liability Suit",  Barbara Leonard, Courthouse New Service [USA], 23 Apr 2012
- "Verdict clearing Chevron is upheld", Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Sep 2010
- "Burden of proof at issue at Chevron-Nigeria appeal", Braden Reddall, Reuters, 14 Jun 2010
- "Chevron cleared in 1998 shootings at Nigerian oil platform", Richard Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec 2008
- "US judge lets Chevron Nigeria lawsuit continue", Reuters, 16 Aug 2007

- "Chevron wins partial dismissal in Nigeria case", Associated Press, 14 Mar 2007
- “New Document Alleges Tie Between Chevron and Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria”, William Baue, SocialFunds.com, 12 Aug 2005

- “Chevron Paid Nigerian Troops After Alleged Killings”, David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 04 Aug 2005

- “ChevronTexaco Going To Trial”, Karen Gullo, Bloomberg News, 26 Mar 2004

Chevron:
- Bowoto v. Chevron - Hostage Taking Incident in Nigeria

Center for Constitutional Rights [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- Bowoto v. Chevron [case synopsis]

Earthrights International [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco [includes links to certain court documents]
 
- [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporaton - Petition for Writ of Certiorari, 20 June 2011
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporation - Opinion, 10 Sep 2010 

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Article
23 March 2004

Victory in Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco: Court Allows Nigerian Plaintiffs' Claims to Proceed

Author: EarthRights International

On March 23, 2004, a federal judge ruled that ChevronTexaco may be held liable for the acts of its Nigerian subsidiary, where ChevronTexaco allowed the subsidiary to hire the notorious Nigerian military and police as a security force. Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco challenges a May 1998 incident in which Chevron's subsidiary, CNL, hired military “security forces.” Those forces murdered and injured a number of unarmed Nigerians protesting Chevron's environmental and business practices on Chevron’s Parabe oil platform just off Nigeria's coast.

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Article
23 March 2004

[PDF] [text of US court decision denying ChevronTexaco's motion for summary judgment in case of Bowoto v ChevronTexaco]

Author: US District Court for the Northern District of California

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Article
8 March 2004

Recent ATCA Cases Against Corporate Defendants

Author: EarthRights International

[provides brief status report on human rights lawsuits in US courts under Alien Tort Claims Act against: ChevronTexaco, Coca-Cola, Drummond, Dyncorp, ExxonMobil, Freeport-McMoran, Fresh Del Monte Produce, Gap, Rio Tinto, Shell, Southern Peru Copper, Texaco, Union Carbide, Unocal]

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Article
10 February 2004

Courting Responsibility

Author: Jaideep Singh, Mother Jones [Interview with Terry Collingsworth, International Labor Rights Fund]

In the human and labor rights community, suing companies is our nuclear weapon – our last resort...They're not serious about alternatives. They want to have it both ways. So we're going to keep suing them and keep winning. And then we'll say, "hey, how do you want to do this?" [refers to Unocal, Total, Control Risks, ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, Shell, Chevron]

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Article
13 January 2004

Bowoto v. Chevron

Author: Center for Constitutional Rights

Bowoto v. Chevron is a class action lawsuit charging Chevron/Texaco Corporation with gross violations of human rights including extrajudicial killing; crimes against humanity; and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in the Niger Delta region.

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Article
12 January 2004

Corporate Accountability

Author: Center for Constitutional Rights

Too often, corporations do business with regimes that abuse human rights...Through cases such as Doe v. Unocal and Wiwa v. Royal Dutch/Shell, we have won important preliminary victories in the courts that put companies on notice that trampling on basic rights will only hurt the bottom line.

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Article
31 October 2003

[PDF] Community redress and multinational enterprises

Author: Alice Palmer, Foundation for International Law and Development (FIELD)

This paper...serves as a basic primer on some of the legal concepts and procedures relevant to communities seeking redress from multinationals. It looks at what makes multinationals different from other businesses and examines the obstacles to redress at the national level. Secondly it considers options for developing international approaches to community redress. [refers to Cape plc, Cambior, Thor, Unocal, Freeport-McMoRan, Shell, Union Carbide, BHP Billiton, RTZ (now Rio Tinto), Chevron, Texaco (now ChevronTexaco)]

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Article
23 May 2003

Is ChevronTexaco liable for abuses in Nigeria? U.S. Court to Decide Whether San Francisco-Based Parent Company ChevronTexaco Can Be Liable For Military Attacks in Retaliation for Oil Protests In Nigeria

Author: EarthRights International

The case, Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco, arises from two incidents in the oil-producing areas of Nigeria where CNL [ChevronTexaco Nigeria Limited]-leased helicopters and boats were used in military-style attacks on local villagers arising from protests against the environmental and economic damage caused by Chevron's activities nearby.

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Article
13 March 2003

Indigenous Struggle in Ecuador Becomes a "Cause Beyond Control" - Transnational Oil Companies Free to Leave Amazon

Author: Kenny Bruno, EarthRights International, CorpWatch website

...On March 4, 2003, the Ecuadorian newspaper Hoy reported that the Ministry of Environment has agreed to allow two transnational companies to cancel their oil concession contracts under the provision of force majeure. The force majeure they are referring to is the determined opposition of Kichwa, Shuar and Achuar people who live in the concession areas to ongoing activities by the companies, Burlington Resources of Texas and Compania General de Combustibles (CGC) of Argentina. The CGC concession is owned partly by ChevronTexaco, according to Platt's Oilgram News.

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Article
1 March 2003

Oil and Human Rights - Environmental and Human Rights Impacts of the ONG Industry [oil & natural gas industry]

Author: Ayesha Dias, Bureau for Development Policy (Democratic Governance) UNDP

...every stage of [the oil & natural gas sector] activity, from exploration exploitation, refining, manufacturing, storage, transportation and fuel use is fraught with environmental and social consequences – local, regional and global...The application of the Declaration to various non-state actors is staunchly supported by human rights scholars such as Professor Louis Henkin who, speaking of the universal nature of the Declaration’s preamble contends that “every individual includes judicial persons. Every individual and every organ of society excludes no one, no country, no market, no cyberspace. The Universal Declaration applies to them all”. [refers to Exxon (part of ExxonMobil), Shell, Chevron, Unocal, Texaco (part of Chevron), BP Amoco, Talisman, TotalFinaElf (Total), Norsk Hydro]

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