“In early February, a week before a court in Ecuador passed down a historic $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron for massive environmental contamination in the Amazon, lawyers for the oil giant went to the U.S. District Court in New York, seeking an order to stop enforcement of the anticipated verdict.
As a major cover story in this week’s Business Week magazine reports, Judge Lewis Kaplan granted a temporary restraining order immediately.
According to Business Week:
It was highly unusual for a federal judge to block the effect of a foreign court’s action before it occurred. (He has since turned his order into a preliminary injunction, which remains in effect.) Kaplan didn’t rule on the merits of the environmental claims; in fact, he stressed that he didn’t know much about the underlying equities. He didn’t sound sympathetic, however: “Among the obvious facts here are that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs are in this for money. They may be in it for other things, but they are in it for money.”
This past Monday, Judge Kaplan turned his order into a preliminary injunction, a move that Karen Hinton, U.S.-based spokeswoman for the Ecuadorian communities ravaged by Chevron’s contamination lambasted in a statement:
This decision is a slap in the face to the democratic nation of Ecuador and the thousands of Ecuadorian citizens who have courageously fought for 18 years to hold Chevron accountable for committing the world’s worst environmental disaster.”
Read more: Chevron in Ecuador