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U.S. judge in Chevron-Ecuador case won't recuse self

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan…rejected claims by two of the plaintiffs that he had prejudged the case…The judge said there was no objective reason to believe he had been "anything less than entirely impartial"…[In] March [Kaplan] issued a preliminary injunction to stop the Ecuadorean plaintiffs from enforcing the judgment, and set a [November] trial date to decide whether to make the injunction permanent. An Ecuadorean court had…imposed the $18 billion judgment as a result of environmental contamination from 1964 to 1992 by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001…In seeking Kaplan's recusal, lawyers said Kaplan showed bias…They said Kaplan viewed the litigation as "a scheme fabricated by the Ecuadorean plaintiffs' counsel to hit Chevron…” Kaplan said there was no basis for the contentions…

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