February 28, 2024

Lawsuit Against Chevron in Ecuador Clears Hurdle in U.S.

The three-judge panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit previously expressed skepticism that a New York judge could wield jurisdiction outside the United States.

The lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Pablo Fajardo, said they expected to start collecting by the first quarter of 2012 the damages that a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, ordered Chevron to pay.

“We can now at least dream there will be justice and compensation for the damage, the environmental crime, committed by Chevron in Ecuador,” he said.

“Chevron remains confident that once the full facts are examined, the fraudulent judgment will be found unenforceable and those who procured it will be required to answer for their misconduct,” the oil company said in a statement on its Web site Monday. Chevron has appealed the decision, issued in February, and Mr. Fajardo said he expected an appeals court ruling in Ecuador in the next few months.

In New York, United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan had barred collection of the award, after determining that Chevron could prove that lawyers had manipulated a corrupt legal system in Ecuador. The company had argued that the plaintiffs would collect the judgment before an appeals process was completed.

But a lawyer for the plaintiffs told the appeals court in oral arguments Friday that they would not try to recover damages until the appeal in Ecuador was completed. The award followed nearly two decades of litigation.

The plaintiffs blamed Texaco, a subsidiary of Chevron since 2001, for environmental contamination and illnesses resulting from its operation of an oil consortium from 1972 to 1990 in the country’s lush rainforest.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=dd72cc33cb9b84fbe821b53255693ce0

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