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Ecuador: Judge finds Chevron responsible for pollution, will fine it $9.5 billion

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Article
16 February 2011

Ecuador: finally, the polluter is commanded to pay

Author: Independent [UK]

Deep in the Amazonian rainforest yesterday a court reached a judgment that will resonate through the boardrooms of some of the world's richest and most powerful companies. A judge…ruled that Texaco was responsible for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest between 1972 and 1992 and that Chevron, which merged with Texaco in 2001, is liable for an $8.6bn (£5.3bn) fine…The oil giant has gone to enormous lengths…to undermine the Ecuadorean legal system…[T]his ruling in Ecuador could be a sign that poorer countries too are no longer prepared to be the Western world's dumping ground…Multinational firms need to be made to understand that, wherever in the world they operate, they will be required to pay the full costs when they wreck environments and destroy lives.

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Article
16 February 2011

Why Chevron-Ecuador case never reached settlement

Author: David Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

In November 2009, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer suing Chevron Corp. over oil-field pollution in Ecuador had some advice for his colleagues on the case: Now might be the time to settle. Joseph Kohn…, whose firm had spent $7 million bankrolling the lawsuit, also argued against turning down settlement talks in hopes that the Ecuadoran judge hearing the case would eventually rule in their favor. Chevron…could find ways to avoid paying for years… Kohn's colleagues and their clients in Ecuador rejected his advice, and Kohn eventually left the case…Monday's judgment orders Chevron to pay $8.64 billion for environmental cleanup and health programs, an amount that could double if the company doesn't issue an apology in the next 15 days. In addition, Judge Nicolas Zambrano awarded $864 million to the Amazon Defense Coalition, a group representing the plaintiffs.

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Article
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Author: AFP

...Chevron a été condamné lundi à payer huit milliards de dollars pour la pollution entraînée par Texaco, compagnie qu'il a rachetée, dans une province amazonienne équatorienne, un jugement contre lequel il a promis de faire appel... Dans un communiqué, la compagnie a en outre assuré que le jugement était "illégitime et inapplicable", en considérant qu'il était le résultat d'une "fraude et totalement contraire à la preuve scientifique légitime"...Selon les plaignants, Texaco (rachetée en 2001 par Chevron), a entraîné des dommages environnementaux très graves, notamment en versant dans des fosses à ciel ouvert ses déchets pétroliers, qui ont ensuite contaminé sols et rivières. Les habitants de cette région, dont beaucoup d'indigènes, se plaignent en outre de maladies et même de cancers qu'ils attribuent à cette pollution...[Chevron] a par ailleurs obtenu le 9 février une décision favorable de la Cour d'arbitrage international de La Haye...[qui a ordonné] que le gouvernement équatorien s'abstienne d'exécuter un éventuel jugement condamnatoire...tant qu'elle n'aura pas tranché au fond.

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Article
15 February 2011

[video] Chevron to contest damages in Ecuador drilling case

Author: Euronews

A court in Ecuador has awarded record damages in an environmental pollution lawsuit against the US oil company Chevron. The case which has been running for more than 17 years has implications for other mega claims. But Chevron has contested the award of $8 billion dollars and has counter sued for fraud. Environmentalists portray the case as a fight for justice against rich polluters. Originally $27 billion dollars had been demanded.

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Article
14 February 2011

Chevron fined $9.5 billion in Ecuador

Author: AP

An Ecuadorean judge ruled Monday that Chevron Corp. was responsible for oil contamination in a wide swath of Ecuador's northern jungle and fined it at least $8 billion, the plaintiffs' lead attorney told The Associated Press. Chevron said it would appeal and called the ruling "illegitimate and unenforceable" in a news release. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Pablo Fajardo, called the judgment "a great step that we have made toward the crystalization of justice." He told the AP, however, that he considered the damage award too low and was also considering an appeal. [also refers to Texaco (now part of Chevron)]

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Article
14 February 2011

Chevron Found Guilty in $8 Billion Ecuadorian Human Rights and Environmental Case

Author: Chip Pitts, Corporate Action Network [blog on Human Rights Now]

After an eighteen-year, multinational court battle, Chevron was found guilty...in an Ecuadorian court and fined $8 billion for pollution that amounted to an ecological disaster and seriously harmed the human rights of the indigenous inhabitants...[A]nticipating today’s decision…Chevron requested and succeeded in obtaining from New York Judge Kaplan...a highly unusual temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the plaintiffs from attempting to enforce any judgment outside of the United States…Chevron’s continued fight against justice in this case is, to say the least, unfortunate – if not tragic. The scientific evidence and record in the case taken as a whole quite compellingly show that the victims have fallen by the wayside in this titanic battle...Chevron plans to appeal [the Ecuadorian] decision, showing no signs yet of adopting a more conciliatory posture toward the victims.

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Article
14 February 2011

Illegitimate Judgment Against Chevron in Ecuador Lawsuit

Author: Chevron

Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) today announced there has been an adverse judgment from the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbíos in Lago Agrio, Ecuador in an environmental lawsuit involving Texaco Petroleum Company. In response to the ruling, Chevron issued the following statement:
"The Ecuadorian court's judgment is illegitimate and unenforceable. It is the product of fraud and is contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence. Chevron will appeal this decision in Ecuador and intends to see that justice prevails. United States and international tribunals already have taken steps to bar enforcement of the Ecuadorian ruling. Chevron does not believe that today's judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law. Chevron intends to see that the perpetrators of this fraud are held accountable for their misconduct."

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Article
14 February 2011

Statement by Ecuadorian Plaintiffs on Judgment Against Chevron

Author: Amazon Defense Coalition

Pablo Fajardo, the lead Ecuadorian attorney representing the indigenous tribes suing Chevron for oil contamination, released this statement today about the judgment against Chevron…: "We believe today's judgment affirms what the plaintiffs have contended for the past 18 years about Chevron's intentional and unlawful contamination of Ecuador's rainforest. Until we have had a chance to review the lengthy decision, we will not be able to comment in detail…We call on the company to end its polemical attacks and search jointly with the plaintiffs for common solutions. We believe the evidence before the court deserves international respect and the plaintiffs will take whatever actions are appropriate consistent with the law to press the claims to a final conclusion."

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Article
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Author: Corte Provincial de Justicia Sucumbíos [Ecuador]

[Fallo completo en el caso por daños ambientales contra Chevron]

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Article
13 February 2011

Ecuador says it will comply with US judge's decision to temporarily block Chevron judgment

Author: Canadian Press

Ecuadorean officials say they will temporarily block a potential multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron Corp. for alleged environmental damages. The Attorney General's Office says in a statement that Ecuador will obey the order from a U.S. federal judge in New York even though officials "do not agree" with it...At Chevron's request, the U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked any judgment for at least 28 days. The judge said he had concluded that lawyers representing the 30,000 plaintiffs were planning a global disruption of the oil giant's business to enforce any monetary award.

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