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5 Aug 2010

David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

Chevron: Outtakes prove collusion with expert

Chevron Corp. alleges that outtakes from a film about the oil company's long-running pollution lawsuit in Ecuador show collusion between the opposing side's lawyers and the court-appointed expert who estimated that Chevron should pay $27 billion if it loses the case. The charges, raised in a court filing...come less than a month after a U.S. appeals court ordered...filmmaker Joe Berlinger to give Chevron outtakes from his documentary "Crude."...Some of the film's unused footage shows the plaintiffs' lawyers meeting in March 2007 to discuss an upcoming, court-ordered report that would eventually become a major issue in the case...The meeting was held two weeks before an Ecuadoran judge appointed the expert, a geological engineer named Richard Cabrera...Chevron has attacked Cabrera's credibility for years...The plaintiffs' lawyers and representatives called the filing a sideshow meant to distract attention from the trial's central issues - pollution and public health. They argue that both sides were free to submit information to Cabrera for inclusion in his report. "...Chevron had as many opportunities to submit their own findings, their own judgments, as we did," said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs' legal team. "But Chevron from the beginning chose not to have any interaction with Cabrera."

Part of the following timelines

Chevron alleges that outtakes from film on the oil firm's pollution lawsuit in Ecuador show collusion between the plaintiff lawyers and the court-appointed expert

Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador)