Chevron takes exception to 'adverse judgment' in Ecuadoran court

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 -- Chevron Corp. has taken exception to what it called an “adverse judgment” from the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, in an environmental lawsuit involving Texaco Petroleum Co.

“The Ecuadorian court's judgment is illegitimate and unenforceable,” Chevron said, adding that is the product of “fraud” and “contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence.”

Chevron said it will appeal this decision in Ecuador and intends to see that justice prevails. In making its statement, Chevron said it plans to see that “the perpetrators of this fraud are held accountable for their misconduct.”

Chevron said both US and international tribunals already have taken steps to bar enforcement of the Ecuadorian ruling, and that the judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.

On Feb. 9, an international panel of arbitrators presiding in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague took action in the case.

The panel ordered Ecuador to “take all measures at its disposal to suspend or cause to be suspended the enforcement or recognition within and without Ecuador of any judgment” against Chevron in the Lago Agrio case pending further order or award from the international tribunal.

On Feb. 8, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York issued a temporary restraining order barring the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) defendants “from receiving benefit from, directly or indirectly, any action, or proceeding for recognition or enforcement of any judgment entered against Chevron in Ecuador.”

Kaplan’s order also precludes “prejudgment seizure or attachment of assets based on any such judgment.”

Despite the rulings, activist groups Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch hailed the decision against Chevron.

“As of today, Chevron’s guilt for extensive oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest is official,” the two groups said. “It is time Chevron takes responsibility for these environmental and public health damages, which they have fought for the past 18 years.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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