Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador)
Para la versión en español de este perfil de las demandas judiciales contra Texaco/Chevron por actividades en Ecuador, haga clic acá.
United States lawsuits
In 1993, a group of Ecuadorian citizens of the Oriente region filed a class action lawsuit in US federal court against Texaco (Aguinda v. Texaco), and in 1994 a group of Peruvian citizens living downstream from the Oriente region also filed a class action lawsuit against Texaco in US federal court (Jota v. Texaco). Both complaints alleged that between 1964 and 1992 Texaco’s oil operations polluted the rainforests and rivers in Ecuador and Peru, resulting in environmental damage and damage to the health of those who live in the region. Both lawsuits were dismissed by the US federal court in 2002 on forum non conveniens grounds (i.e., the court stated that Ecuador was a more appropriate venue for litigating these claims). In connection with the dismissal, Texaco agreed that courts in Ecuador and/or Peru would have jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' claims.
Proceedings in Ecuador
In 2003, a class action lawsuit was brought against Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) in Ecuador alleging severe environmental contamination of the land where Texaco conducted its oil operation activities. The plaintiffs alleged that this contamination has led to increased rates of cancer as well as other serious health problems for the residents of the region. Judicial inspections of the allegedly contaminated sites commenced in August 2004. In early 2008, an independent expert recommended to the court that Chevron should pay $7-16 billion in compensation for the pollution. This expert increased his estimate of damages to $27 billion in November 2008. In 2008, Chevron reportedly lobbied the US Government to end trade preferences with Ecuador over this lawsuit. Following allegations of judicial misconduct, the original trial judge recused himself from the case and a new judge was appointed. Following a successful petition in US court to receive unused footage from the documentary "Crude", Chevron filed a petition with the court in August 2010 seeking to dismiss the lawsuit based on the company's assertion that certain parts of this footage show alleged fraud on the part of the plaintiffs. In September 2010, the plaintiffs submitted a new assessment of damages for the claims stating that the cost would be between $90 and $113 billion. In the same month, the judge concluded the evidentiary phase of the lawsuit. On 14 February 2011, the Ecuadorian judge issued a ruling against Chevron in the lawsuit. Chevron was ordered to pay $8.6 billion in damages and clean up costs, with the damages increasing to $18 billion if Chevron does not issue a public apology. Chevron indicated that it believes the ruling is "illegitimate" and "unenforceable", and it filed an appeal. On 3 January 2012 a panel of three judges from the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios upheld the February 2011 ruling against Chevron. On 20 January 2012, Chevron appealed the decision with Ecuador's National Court of Justice. In March 2012, Chevron asked the Provincial Court of Justice for the fourth time to block the Ecuadorian Government from enforcing the $18 billion judgment against it. On 28 March 2012, the court ruled that Chevron was not entitled to use an order from the international arbitration tribunal, which asked Ecuador's Government to suspend the litigation, to block the plaintiffs from enforcing the judgment. In an effort to enforce the judgment, the Ecuadorian plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Canada in May 2012 and one in Brazil in June 2012 targetting Chevron's assets in those countries. On 6 August 2012, the Ecuadorian court ruled that Chevron had until the end of the day to pay the $19 billion judgment. The award was increased in July 2012, after Judge Ortiz calculated various mandatory costs required by Ecuadorian law. In October 2012, the Ecuadorian court issued an order permitting the plaintiffs to seize about $200 million of Chevron's assets located in the country, in an effort to collect on the judgment against the company. On 12 November 2013, Ecuador Supreme Court upheld the August 2012 ruling against Texaco/Chevron for environmental damage but halved damages to $9.51 billion. On 27 June 2018, Chevron challenged the 2012 ruling of the Ecuador´s National Court of Justice in the Constitutional Court of Ecuador. On 10 July 2018, the Court upheld the $9.5 billion judgement against the company.
In September 2014, Chevron reportedly filed a claim against Woodsford Litigation Funding, which had financed lawyers working on enforcing the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgement against Chevron. Chevron claims the judgement was achieved by fraud and bribery.
International arbitration proceedings
In December 2006, and again in September 2009, Chevron filed an international arbitration claim before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, alleging that the Government of Ecuador violated an US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty. Chevron claimed that the Government of Ecuador violated international law by unduly influencing the judiciary and thereby compromising the judiciary's independence. In March 2010, the arbitration panel ruled that Ecuador's government had violated the bilateral investment treaty and international law by delaying rulings on the commercial dispute currently pending in Ecuador's courts. The Government of Ecuador and the plaintiffs in the Ecuadorian lawsuit filed a lawsuit in US federal court seeking an injunction barring Chevron from proceeding with arbitration under the bilateral investment treaty. The parties argued that due process rights in Ecuador would be denied should Chevron proceed with its arbitration.
In March 2010, the US court ruled that Chevron may pursue international arbitration in this case. The plaintiffs and Government of Ecuador have appealed this ruling. In an effort to prove its case, Chevron has sued in ten different US federal courts to try and obtain discovery documents from various consultants the plaintiffs engaged in the assessment of damages.
In February 2011, the international arbitration panel issued an Interim Measures Order in favour of Chevron ordering Ecuador to take all measures to suspend enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment. In August 2011, the international arbitration tribunal awarded Chevron $96 million.
In February 2012, the arbitration panel met to review Ecuador's compliance with the Interim Measures Order. In February 2013, the arbitration tribunal ruled that Ecuador had not complied with the Interim Measures Order.
In March 2015, the arbitration tribunal held that the settlement between Chevron and Ecuador did not preclude residents from suing over the pollution in the future. The tribunal has yet to consider whether the issuing of the Ecuadorian judgment was in violation of the investment agreement with Texaco.
In January 2016, the international arbitration tribunal ruled in favour of Chevron over Ecuador being bound by the US-Ecuador investment agreement. Ecuador said it will appeal the decision.
In June 2016, The US Supreme Court declined to hear Ecuador's challenge to Chevron's arbitration award.
In July 2016, Ecuador indicated that it had executed the arbitrary decision and paid the $112 million ($96 million award plus interrests) compensation to Chevron.
On 30 August 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague held Ecuador liable for "denying justice" to Chevron and violating the company's fundamental procedural rights, including the rights of defence, by allowing its courts to issue a $9.5 billion judgement against Chevron. The arbitration tribunal ruled that no part of the said judgement should be recognized or enforced by any State.
US legal proceedings following Ecuadorian judgment
Chevron filed a racketeering lawsuit against the plaintiffs' lawyers and representatives in US federal court on 1 February 2011. This lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs' lawyers and representatives have conspired to extort up to $113 billion from Chevron through the Ecuadorian legal proceedings. In addition, Chevron obtained a temporary restraining order from a US federal judge, Lewis Kaplan, on 9 February 2011 enjoining the plaintiffs from attempting to enforce a judgment in the Ecuadorian legal proceedings in the United States. This temporary restraining order was extended in March 2011 and later appealed by the plaintiffs. Meanwhile, a US law firm has filed its own lawsuit against Chevron and Chevron's US legal counsel claiming that they have illegally interfered with its representation of the claimants in the legal proceedings.
On 19 September 2011, the US federal appeals court lifted the lower court’s order preventing enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment. The court also ordered a stay of the racketeering case that Chevron filed against the plaintiffs. On 29 November 2011, Chevron filed a pre-trial motion to seize assets of the Ecuadorian plaintiffs in the racketeering lawsuit. In January 2012, US federal judge rejected Chevron’s request, stating it could be renewed at a later date.
On 5 January 2012, Chevron asked the US federal appeals court to restore the injunction enjoining the plaintiffs from enforcing the Ecuadorian judgment. On 19 January 2012, the court rejected Chevron’s request. On 26 January 2012, explaining its previous decision, the court of appeals ruled that Judge Kaplan lacked authority to block the enforcement of the $18 billion judgment. On 15 May 2012, the district judge overseeing the racketeering lawsuit allowed for the racketeering claims to continue, while dismissing claims of fraud. In October 2012 the US Supreme Court refused to hear Chevron's appeal of the lower court's decision ruling that Judge Kaplan lacked authority to issue the injunction blocking enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment.
In July-August 2013, US federal courts upheld subpoenas served by Chevron on Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! demanding private user information about environmental advocates, journalists, lawyers and others. Chevron sought this as part of its fraud lawsuit against certain Ecuadorian oil pollution plaintiffs and their lawyers.
In March 2014, Judge Kaplan ruled in favour of Chevron, and found that the lawyers for the Ecuadorian community had used fabricated evidence, made bribes and ghost-wrote court documents. The plaintiffs were therefore barred from collecting the $9.51 billion judgment because the "decision was obtained by corrupt means.” The plaintiffs appealed arguing that the requirement that a US court recognizes a ruling of a foreign jurisdiction barred Chevron from challenging the judgement.
On 8 August 2016, a US court of appeals agreed with the lower court’s ruling that the Ecuadorian community cannot collect the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgement on the basis that judgment was obtained by corrupt means. In April 2017, the lawyers for the Ecuadorian asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision allowing Chevron to use the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to try to block a foreign court judgement. On 19 June 2017, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the petition. This means that the lower court decision blocking the enforcement of the Ecuadorian award stands.
In an effort to enforce the $9.51 billion Ecuadorian judgement, the Ecuadorian villagers filed a lawsuit in Canada in May 2012 targeting Chevron subsidiary's assets in this country. In September 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court confirmed jurisdiction of the Canadian courts to hear the case. In January 2017, the Ontario Superior Court decided that Chevron’s Canada assets and shares could not be used to satisfy the claim, as it is a separate legal entity. However, the judge agreed to toss out some of Chevron's defence arguments concerning the Ecuadorian judgement. The plaintiffs filed an appeal.
In September 2017, the Canadian Court satisfied Chevron's request to order the Ecuadorian plaintiffs to post almost $1 million as security for costs of further proceedings. The court of appeal reversed this order ruling the case a matter of public interest litigation. Chevron was obliged to cover the costs incurred by the Ecuadorians of challenging the security order.
On 17 and 18 April 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal heard Ecuadorian villagers' appeal asking to enforce $9.5 billion judgement against Chevron using the assets of its subsidiary in Canada. On 23 May 2018, the court upheld the January 2017 decision of the Ontario Superior Court, ruling that Chevron Canada cannot be held liable instead of the parent company. The plaintiffs will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Proceedings in other countries
In October 2017, attempts to enforce the case in Argentina were rejected for a lack of jurisdiction and connection to Argentina. In November, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice refused to enforce the decision on the same grounds.
In October 2014, Ecuadorian communities made a complaint to International Criminal Court against Chevron CEO John Watson. The complaint alleged that decisions by Chevron and its high ranking officers to pollute the rainforest, and subsequently to evade remediation, constituted a crime against humanity. According to the letter received by the Chevron's lawyer in March 2015 from the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, the allegations described in the communication to the ICC by the Lago Agrio plaintiffs were outside the Court's jurisdiction. The alleged crimes, according to the ICC Prosecutor, did not appear to amount to the international crimes under the Court's jurisdiction, based on the available information. In addition, although the ICC recently declared its intent to address environmental abuses, the Court may only hear cases occurred after 1 July 2002, whereas the alleged abuse happened in the 1990s.
- "The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague Rules Against Ecuador, Favors Chevron", TeleSur, 7 Sep 2018
- "Top Ecuador court upholds $9 billion ruling against Chevron", ABC News USA, 11 Jul 2018
- "Chevron Ecuador Update: Argentine Court Rejects Fraudulent Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron", , Oakland News Now, 5 July 2018
- "Supreme Court May Weigh Big Weapon for U.S. Companies Sued Abroad", Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Business Week, 16 May 2017
- "ICC Won’t Prosecute Chevron", Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 2 Apr 2015
- "Ecuador court deals Chevron fresh blow in pollution case", Reuters, 16 Oct 2012
- "Chevron fails to squelch $19 billion Ecuador verdict", Paul Barrett Bloomberg Businessweek, 9 Oct 2012
- "Chevron Faces Midnight Deadline in $19 Billion Ecuador Judgment", Environment News Service, 6 Aug 2012
- "Ecuador plaintiffs target Chevron's assets in Brazil", Eduardo Garcia, Reuters, 28 Jun 2012
- "Ecuador plainitffs file lawsuit in Canada against Chevron", Eduardo Garcia, Reuters, 30 May 2012
- "Chevron Gets Some Claims Dismissed From Ecuador Lawsuit (Update 2)", Patricia Hurtado, Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg 15 May 2012
- "Ecuadorian panel again squashes Chevron motion to block judgment", Jessica M. Karmasek, Legal Newsline, 2 Apr 2012
- "Ecuadoreans Blast 'Secret' Hague Tribunal Convened for Chevron", Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service, 10 Feb 2012
- "Circuit Faults Use of State Law to Block Chevron Judgment", Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal, 27 Jan 2012
- "Ecuador Update: One Door Shuts, Another Opens, and Chevron Lists Its Law Firms—All 39 of Them", Michael D. Goldhaber, Am Law Daily, 24 Jan 2012
- "Chevron Appeals Ruling In Ecuadorian Court", Dow Jones Newswires, 20 Jan 2012
- "So much for Plan B: Kaplan denies Chevron attachment motion", Alison Frankel, Reuters, 6 Jan 2012
- "Reversal of Fortune", Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker, 9 Jan 2012 [subscription only]
- "Chevron to fight Ecuador ruling", Naomi Mapstone, Financial Times, 6 Jan 2012
- "Chevron Bid to Dismiss $18 Billion Judgment Rejected in Ecuador Court", Karen Gullo & Mark Chediak, Bloomberg, 4 Jan 2012
- [Español] "Corte de Ecuador ratifica fallo contra petrolera Chevron", Reuters, 3 Jan 2012
- "U.S. court rules against Chevron in Ecuador case", David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Sep 2011
- [Español] "Corte de EEUU apoya a Ecuador en cuantioso juicio contra Chevron", AP, 19 Sep 2011
- "Ecuador: finally, the polluter is commanded to pay", Independent, 16 Feb 2011
- "Chevron Fined $8.6 Billion in Epic Environmental Case", Frank Bajak & Gonzalo Solano, Associated Press, 15 Feb 2011
- "Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Likely Judgment Against Chevron", Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal, 9 Feb 2011
- "Law firm fires back at Chevron in Ecuador case", Dan Levine, Reuters, 8 Feb 2011
- "Year 18 of Ecuador vs. Chevron Pollution Dispute", Michael D. Goldhaber, American Lawyer, 23 Sep 2010
- "Chevron keeps up pressure in Ecuador suit", David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Sep 2010
- "Chevron wins an Ecuador claim, awaits major ruling", Braden Reddall, Reuters, 30 Mar 2010
-"Texaco Toxic Past Haunts Chevron as Judgment Looms", Michael Smith & Karen Gullo, Bloomberg, 30 Dec 2008
- "Chevron Estimate for Amazon Damages Rises by $11 Billion", Karen Gullo, Bloomberg, 27 Nov 2008
- "A $16 Billion Problem", Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, 26 Jul 2008
- [Español] "Nueve ecuatorianos demandan a Texaco", Olga Imbaquingo, Diario el Comercio [Ecuador], 26 abril 2006
- "Amazon Indians Say Texaco Left Damage", Gonzalo Solano, Associated Press, 20 Oct 2005
- “Chevron Trial Opens”, Alan Zibel, Oakland Tribune, 21 Oct 2003
- "Brazil's High Court Rejects Attempt to Enforce Fraudulent Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron", 30 Nov 2017
- "Argentine Court Rejects Attempt to Enforce Fraudulent Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron", 1 Nov 2017
- "Canadian Court Rejects Attempt to Enforce Fraudulent Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron Subsidiary", 20 Jan 2017
- "Chevron response to U.S. Court of Appeals decision", 22 Aug 2016
- "U.S. Appeals Court Affirms RICO Judgment Against Lawyer Behind Fraudulent Ecuador Lawsuit", 8 Aug 2016
- "Chevron Statement on United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals Order", 19 Sep 2011
- The Amazon Post
- "Ecuador Lawsuit - Facts about Chevron and Texaco in Ecuador"
- "Ecuador Lawsuit - Press Releases"
- "History of Texaco and Chevron in Ecuador" [includes links to US court decisions, certain filings by Texaco and status of Ecuadorian proceedings]
- [Español] "Texaco en Ecuador" [incluye enlaces a decisiones judiciales en los EEUU, varios documentos de Texaco y el estado actual de los procedimientos en Ecuador – material sólo en inglés]
Amazon Defense Coalition [NGO supporting plaintiffs]:
- "Step Towards Justice in Chevron Ecuador Contamination Case"
- "Chevron's $27 Billion Catastrophe"
- "Press Releases"
- "Key Documents & Court Filings from Aguinda Legal Team"
- "Communication to Office of the Prosecutor, ICC", Pablo Fajardo Mendoza & Eduardo Bernabé Toledo
- Earthrights International [filed brief in support of plaintiffs in the US proceedings]: "Amicus Brief in Jota v. Texaco and Aguida v. Texaco"
- Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Corporation v. The Republic of Ecuador, Second Partial Award on Track II, The Permanent Court of Arbitration, 30 Aug 2018
- Letter from the Office of the Prosecutor to R. Doak Bishop, Chevron's lawyer, International Criminal Court, 16 March 2015
- [Español] Fallo de la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Sucumbíos en el caso Maria Aguida y Otros, Corte Provincial de Justicia de Sucumbíos, 15 octubre 2012
- [Español] Fallo de la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Sucumbíos en el caso Maria Aguida y Otros contra Chevron Corporation, Corte Provincial de Justicia de Sucumbíos, 28 marzo 2012
- Chevron Corporation v Camacho Naranjo, et al- Order, US Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit, 19 Jan 2012
- [Español] Juez ponente: Dr. Milton Toral Zevallos - Corte provincial de justicia de Sucumbíos, Sala única de la corte provincial de justicia de Sucumbíos, 3 de enero 2012
- Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios, 3 Jan 2012 [English translation of appeals court decision]
- Chevron Corporation v Steven Donziger et al - Memorandum Opinion, US District Court Southern District of New York, 6 Jan 2012
- Chevron's appeal to Chief Judge of Sucumbios Provincial Court, 21 Mar 2011
- Chevron Corporation v. Camacho Naranjo, et al. - Summary Order, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 19 Sep 2011
- [Español] Juez ponente: AB. Nicolas Zambrano Lozada - Corte Provincial de Justicia Sucumbíos, Corte Provincial de Justicia Sucumbíos [Ecuador], 14 de febrero de 2011 [Fallo completo en el caso por daños ambientales contra Chevron]
- Provincial Court of Sucumbios - Judgment of Case No. 2003-0002, 14 Feb 2011 [English translation of decision issued by the Provincial Court of Sucumbios, Ecuador]
All components of this story
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has ruled in favor of oil giant Chevron and declared Ecuador guilty of violating a bilateral investment treaty signed with the United States in 1997, of withholding justice from the company, and for not providing Chevron with “just and equitable” treatment... The court also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation to the corporation that dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into waterways and open pits in the Ecuadorean Amazon between 1964 and 1992, affecting over 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area...Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion that the provincial court of Sucumbios in Ecuador sentenced Chevron to pay to the affected communities...Ecuador’s Constitutional Court ratified the ruling against Chevron, but compensation to the affected communities seems unlikely. The amount Ecuador will need to pay Chevron will be settled within the next 90 days...The government of President Lenin Moreno announced...that the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process. The current government is accusing Correa of failing to defend the country’s interests correctly and spending money on the international campaign “The Dirty Hand of Chevron,” which according to the government sought to “manipulate national and international public opinion.”...
Author: Arbitration Tribunal (The Hague)
Author: Simon Taylor, Co-founder and Director, Global Witness
...[F]or the vast majority, the decision-making and hence responsibility for inadequacies, or very often complicity in the subsequent mess, lies with the highest levels of management in the parent company. In these cases, the subsidiary has usually played the role of a vassal, bereft of nearly all decision-making, at the beck and call of the parent. This role is to enable the parent corporation to reap all the benefits, whilst the subsidiary plays “patsy” when/if it all goes wrong, as the parent pleads ignorance or lack of any role. Accountability is thus usually a far distant proposition: a quickie settlement out of court, a “cost-of-doing-business” penalty...But the real victims in these cases...will not accept this any longer – here is a good example:
In Ecuador, Texaco’s appalling waste management systems left hundreds of poorly maintained waste pits...leading to...devastation for the indigenous and poor farming communities in the region. They sued, but instead of seeking to clean up this environmental disaster, Chevron (which assumed the responsibility for Texaco’s liabilities when it took over the company), promised a lifetime of litigation...Chevron has lost...has lost the legal fight in Ecuador (the jurisdiction it fought to be heard in, but which it now denigrates), where multiple courts have re-affirmed the judgement against Chevron and the multi-billion-dollar compensation penalty it must now pay...[I]ts legal strategy seems to be a vindictive effort, by all means, to attack its opponents rather than be held accountable for its liabilities...
Author: CSR Wire
In a resounding defeat for Chevron in a landmark pollution case, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court in a unanimous 8-0 decision rejected the oil major’s final appeal of a $9.5 billion pollution judgment that found the company deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest…The decision, issued in a 151-page decision published Tuesday, was a total victory for the Indigenous groups that brought the case and a stunning rejection of all of Chevron’s claims. The Court rejected Chevron’s allegations that it was victimized by fraud and the court threw out the company’s claim that Ecuadorian courts had no jurisdiction over the matter…The decision also raises the total number of appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada who have ruled against Chevron on either the underlying merits of the case or its fraud claims to 29. The case against Chevron was spearheaded by the Amazon Defense Front, a grass roots group representing 80 Indigenous peoples and farmer communities in Ecuador’s northern Amazon region…“This decision is another huge victory for the people of Ecuador in their historic two-decade battle for environmental justice against the world's worst corporate polluter and rogue operator,” said FDA leader Luis Yanza, a Goldman Prize winner who initiated the lawsuit against Chevron in U.S. federal court in 1993. "No country should ever do business with Chevron until the company first pays for the harm it caused to the people of Ecuador."...
- Related stories: Ecuador: Constitutional Court upholds $9.5 billion judgement against Chevron in oil pollution lawsuit Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador)
- Related companies: Chevron
Author: ABC News (USA)
Ecuador's highest court has upheld a $9.5 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron for decades of rainforest damage. Plaintiffs celebrated the constitutional court's decision..., saying it should pave the way for indigenous tribes to receive compensation for oil spills that contaminated groundwater and soil...[T]he ruling is largely symbolic as Chevron no longer operates in the South American country...Ecuador's government will have to pursue assets...in foreign courts, where it so far has had little luck...Last week, an appeals court in Argentina rejected an attempt by Ecuador to collect on its award, echoing earlier rulings by courts in Canada, Gibraltar and Brazil...
Chevron said in a statement that the high court's decision "is consistent with the pattern of denial of justice, fraud and corruption against Chevron in Ecuador."...It added that Chevron "will continue to work through international courts to expose and hold accountable those responsible for the judicial fraud and extortion against Chevron in Ecuador." In an added twist, the American lawyer who for years represented Ecuador in the matter was barred Tuesday from practicing law in New York state...
An end to the enforcement saga? Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation and the Preservation of the Corporate Veil
Author: Megan L. Mah, WeirFoulds LLP (Canada)
In its recent decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, 2018 ONCA 472, the Court of Appeal...reiterates the test for piercing the corporate veil in the context of the enforcement of a judgment...The appellants are indigenous peoples of Ecuador who were affected by extensive environmental pollution caused by oil exploration...One of the corporations involved in the oil operations was an indirect subsidiary of Texaco Inc., which is now part of Chevron Corporation...As Chevron Corporation had no assets in Ecuador, the appellants...subsequently commenced an action in Ontario, attempting to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Canada...On appeal, the Court of Appeal addressed...the addition of an intermediary subsidiary as a party to the action, the introduction of fresh evidence, and the appropriate measure of a costs award in the context of public interest litigation...The appellants did not allege any wrongdoing against Chevron Canada, but pleaded that because Chevron Corporation wholly owned and controlled Chevron Canada, it beneficially owned Chevron Canada's assets...[T]he Court...reaffirmed the principle of corporate separateness, which holds that corporations are separate entities from their shareholders, capable of carrying on business and incurring debts on their own behalf. The Court also clarified that a corporation's assets are its own and do not belong to related corporations, such as subsidiaries. Therefore, the Court held that the appellants' interpretation was not supported by the wording of the Execution Act and would violate fundamental principles of corporate law...
Author: Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press via City News (Canada)
The Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based oil giant Chevron Corp. cannot be held liable for a US$9.5-billion award a court in Ecuador ordered against the parent company in favour of Ecuadorian villagers, Ontario’s top court ruled on Wednesday. Even though the Court of Appeal expressed sympathy for the plight of the Indigenous villagers, it found that ordering Calgary-based Chevron Canada to pay them in what it called a “tragic case” would amount to twisting current laws out of all recognition...[T]he Appeal Court said, Canadian courts must decide cases based on the laws and jurisprudence in place in Canada. What the villagers argued, the panel said, found no support in either legislation or case law...The Canadian action, which began in 2012, aimed to have Chevron Canada pay even though the villagers alleged no wrongdoing against the company...[T]hey argued Chevron Corp. should not be able to hide behind a subsidiary to avoid its creditors...The villagers were partially successful on appeal in terms of costs. Hainey had awarded $533,001 to Chevron Canada and $313,283 to Chevron Corp. after rejecting the villagers’ argument that the litigation was in the public interest and, at most, they should only have to pay a nominal amount...
Author: Marco Chown Oved, The Star (Canada)
The Indigenous people from Ecuador who have been living for decades on land poisoned by oil companies have had their appeal for redress against Chevron Canada rejected. An Ontario Appeals Court panel of judges ruled Wednesday that Chevron Canada cannot be held responsible for the toxic pollution left behind in the Amazon rainforest by Texaco in the 1970s and 80s, before it was bought by Chevron. The Ontario court has ruled that Chevron Canada cannot be held liable, even though it owned by Chevron Corporation through a chain of subsidiaries. “The legal arguments advanced by the (Indigenous people) cannot succeed,” wrote Justice William Hourigan in the decision. “If this court endorsed this interpretation, it would result in significant changes to fundamental principles of our corporate law.”...Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer for the Indigenous peoples said his clients will be seeking leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court...Chevron Corp sucessfully prevented the Indigenous people from enforcing the Ecuadorian judgement in the U.S. by bringing fraud charges against their lead lawyer, Steven Donziger...The New York ruling prohibited the Ecuadorians from seeking to get Chevron Corp. to pay in the U.S., but it did not prevent them from going to other jurisdictions where the company operates. The current case was launched in Ontario in 2012...The decision was not unanimous...
Author: Court of Appeal for Ontario (Canada)
NGOs ask Canadian court to unseal documents concerning relationship between Chevron Canada & parent co. to help Ecuadorian plaintiffs in oil pollution lawsuit
Author: Amazon Watch
"Record Environmental Judgement Moves to Ontario Superior Court in Toronto", 5 Apr 2018
...Friends of the Earth Canada, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund of the United Steelworkers of Canada, and Amazon Watch filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice calling on the court to unseal documents in the historic legal effort to enforce one of the largest environmental judgments in history...Later this month, a hearing will be held in Toronto before the Superior Court of Ontario where the Ecuadorians will appeal a lower court decision, essentially protecting Chevron Canada's assets from being seized to cover the debts of its parent company. Chevron has thus far been able to hide the documents in this case from public scrutiny and has argued that the assets of its subsidiary Chevron-Canada cannot be seized. These documents...may show that the Canadian company takes direction from Chevron management in the U.S. and operates as little more than a holding company. The motion filed today asserts that preventing the public from accessing Chevron's filings violates the principle of open justice...The Ontario Court of Appeal has also stated in a recent ruling that the case against Chevron is "public interest litigation...