Ecuadorean Villagers May Still Triumph Over Chevron
Date Written: 2018-04-05
Publisher: Counter Punch
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22177
Michael Krauss, a lawyer who teaches "ethics" at a law school named after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, recently posted a blog on the Forbes website entitled "The Ecuador Saga Continues: Steven Donziger now owes Chevron more than $800,000" (Forbes 3/14/2018). Kraus says that Chevron has basically triumphed over evil...
In 1993, Steven Donziger and a team of lawyers brought the case before a federal court in New York (where Texaco was based) hoping to get a verdict from a jury. From 1964-1990, Texaco ran "all drilling, waste-disposal, and pipeline operations"in the region where the indigenous plaintiffs, many of them farmers, lived. Sixteen billion gallons of toxic waste had been dumped. Residents had organized protests against Texaco since 1986. Again, it is worth emphasizing this: the legal battle against Texaco began in 1993, just after the company had spent 26 years contaminating the Ecuadorean Amazon.
Texaco fought for nine years to move the case back to Ecuador and filed numerous sworn statements praising Ecuador's judiciary. Chevron, after absorbing Texaco in 2001, continued that key battle and won it in 2002. U.S. courts ruled that the lawsuit would have to be settled in Ecuador. Chevron's incentive to avoid a jury (which are not used in Ecuador for civil suits) was obvious. In fact, Chevron weaseled out of facing a jury again years later when it ran back to U.S. courts after its legal battles in Ecuador took an unexpected turn.