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11 Mar 2013

Jessica M. Karmasek, Legal Newsline [USA]

Ecuadorians suing Chevron want Second Circuit to dismiss judge from case

Attorneys for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs suing Chevron Corp. are asking a federal appeals court to reassign its case to a different district court judge...The Ecuadorians argue…that the case should be reassigned to a new district judge due to [Judge] Kaplan’s “calculated effort” to evade the Second Circuit’s mandate and opinion, “inability to remain impartial” and “hostility” toward Ecuador’s judiciary and government…Last January, an appellate court in Ecuador upheld the $18 billion judgment for Chevron’s “intentional contamination” of the country’s rainforest…The ruling…confirmed a lower court’s ruling in February 2011. The lower court found Chevron liable for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon, causing an outbreak of disease and decimating indigenous groups. Vowing never to pay the hefty judgment, the company filed a racketeering lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in response. The company alleges that the Ecuador suit has been used to threaten the oil company, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate its employees — all to extort a financial settlement from the company. Kaplan had issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the judgment. However, the Second Circuit ordered that the injunction be vacated…