Photo retrieved from: www.chevroninecuador.com
“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
Highly toxic production water pours into a waste pit at an old Texaco oil facility near Dureno in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest in 1993. When Texaco left Ecuador in 1992, the company abandoned nearly 1,000 unlined toxic waste pits which continue to pollute the water in the region to this day. Photo retrieved from: www.beforeitsnews.com
“Only days after Chevron turned around and sued the victims of its abuses in Ecuador’s rainforest, accusing them of racketeering and extortion for demanding cleanup, lawyers for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs fired back. Patton Boggs, the high-profile DC law firm now representing the plaintiffs filed its own suit yesterday, accusing Chevron and its lawyers at Gibson Dunn of “tortiously interfering” with the firm’s representation of the Ecuadorians. Tortious interference is a matter of common law and is also referred to as intentional interference with contractual relations.
This is exactly where it gets into a bunch of legalistic mumbo-jumbo for most people (including yours truly) but Patton Boggs’ press release announcing the filing of its suit lays bare Chevron’s legal manipulations for the sideshow they are. The Complaint referred to in the beginning is Chevron’s latest legal assault on the Ecuadorians, their preposterous RICO suit:
What is clear from the Complaint is that Chevron has little interest in litigating the merits of the claims, brought by the indigenous people of Ecuador, that its predecessor Texaco’s conduct has caused an ecological disaster in an environmentally sensitive rainforest the size of the State of Rhode Island. Rather, Chevron wants to litigate about the behavior of the lawyers, consultants, and spokespersons who have dared to represent these people during the past 18 years. Chevron simply cannot escape three glaring facts:”
Read more: Amazon Watch