Chevron Corp has just lost yet another court case in its attempt to appeal the $18.2 billion judgement it must pay to residents of the Lago Agrio region in Ecuador. Ecuador has awaiting the payment of these damages for 20 years, and now it seems that Chevron’s chances of escape are growing short.
The case is over the horrendous contamination caused to the Ecuadorian rainforest, caused by the dumping of toxic waste by the oil company Texaco from 2964 to 1992; Texaco was then bought out by Chevron in 2001.
The initial judgement stated that Chevron must pay just $8.6 billion, but, due to the lack of a public apology from the US’s second largest oil company, and Ecuadorian court more than doubled the figure, until in July this year it was decided that Chevron must pay $18.2 billion.
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Chevron has always contested the case, and in March 2011 it seemed like it could get away without paying when a New York judge issued a worldwide injunction to block the judgement. However on the 26th of January this year that safety net was snatched away from them as the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revoked the ban, claiming that Chevron had been premature to challenge.
Chevron then placed an appeal with the Supreme Court, stating that they were entitled to pre-empt the legal attack against them due to the trend of lawyers in corrupt foreign courts winning big money cases against US companies. It is this appeal that they have just recently lost.
Still, they are not down and out just yet. Chevron released a statement after the court verdict to say that, “while Chevron is disappointed that the Court denied our petition, we will continue to defend against the plaintiffs' lawyers' attempts to enforce the fraudulent Ecuadorean judgment, and to further expose their misconduct.”
They have filed another challenge against the judgement with an international arbitration panel, which is scheduled to begin looking at the case in November.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com