Federal appeals court rules for Chevron in Ecuador pollution case

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Monday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that barred Ecuadoran plaintiffs from collecting a USD $8.646 billion Ecuadoran judgment against Chevron Corp. The lower court had concluded in 2014 that the Ecuadoran judgment was obtained through corruption and fraud and barred the plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Donziger, from attempting to enforce the judgment or profit from the award anywhere in the world. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s judgment that concluded that Donziger and his team had secretly authored the judgment and offered the Ecuadoran judge $500,000 to sign it. The appeals court also said that [the lower court’s decision does not invalidate the judgment and does not prevent the enforcement of the judgment outside the US. The dispute arises from allegations by Ecuadoran plaintiffs that Chevron played a role in environmental damage in the Amazon rain forest. Chevron disputes these claims [backgrounder], and Donziger maintains [backgrounder] his innocence and that he is the victim of a coordinated campaign against him by Chevron.
In June the US Supreme Court declined [JURIST report] to hear a challenge by Ecuador over an arbitration award to Chevron. Last September the Supreme Court of Canada ruled [JURIST report] in favor of Ecuadoran villagers seeking to enforce a multi-million dollar judgment against Chevron. In March 2014 Chevron filed [JURIST report] for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees against Donziger and others in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The court also ruled [JURIST report] that month that the Ecuadoran judgment against Chevron was obtained through “corrupt means.” In November 2013 an Ecuadoran court ordered [JURIST report] Chevron to pay $9.51 billion USD in fines and legal fees.

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