Final Ruling in Chevron v. Donziger Case
Tuesday brought news of a long awaited verdict; U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled against Donziger in the Chevron v. Donziger case. Judge Kaplan said he found “clear and convincing evidence that attorney Steven Donziger’s legal team used bribery, fraud and extortion in pursuit of an $18 billion judgment against the oil company issued in 2011.”
Villagers in the Lago Agrio area argue that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field from 1964 to 1992. Whether or not the site was polluted was not being questioned, it was the way in which Donziger gained the favorable verdict in Ecuador. Judge Kaplan said “Donziger cannot use a Robin Hood defense to justify illegal behavior.”
Tuesday’s decision stops the enforcement of the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States. This verdict might also give Chevron leverage in other claims abroad.
While Chevron’s Chief Executive John Watson called the ruling “a resounding victory”, Donziger called the verdict “appalling and blamed Kaplan’s implacable hostility toward him and his Ecuadorean clients.” He also “vowed to appeal and said the ruling would not stop his clients from seeking to enforce the judgment in other countries.”
The Ecuadorean embassy said that the “decision does not exonerate Chevron from its own legal and moral responsibilities resulting from its decades of contamination.” Chevron continues to be held up in an arbitration dispute in international court regarding cleanup costs of Lago Agrio.
To find out more details of the case, please refer to this blog’s previous posts (October 23, 2013 and November 4, 6, and 22, 2013).