Chevron sues Ecuadorians who stood up to toxic contamination

By David Edwards
Monday, February 14, 2011 14:22 EDT
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Update: Chevron ordered to pay $8 billion

An Ecuadorean judge ruled Monday that Chevron must pay at least $8.2 billion for allegedly dumping oil-drilling waste. The company has pledged to appeal the ruling.

Original report continues below…

Chevron, accused of dumping oil-drilling waste in the Ecuadorean jungle, is facing a multibillion-dollar lawsuit. To fight it, they are counter-suing the alleged victims.

The company filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit in federal court in New York earlier this month, accusing the plaintiffs of fraud, interfering with contracts, trespass, unjust enrichment and conspiracy.

“Chevron is acting out of pure desperation because we are nearing judgment,” Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs, told activist campaigners with the watchdog site ChevronToxico.

“The company’s new legal actions are designed to intimidate lawyers and funders and to provide a fake cover story for shareholders when the company is hit with an adverse judgment,” she added.

In fact, Chevron just ending a record-setting 13-day deposition of one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.

“Irrefutable scientific truth will triumph over Chevron’s intimidation tactics and desperation,” Pablo Fajardo, the lead attorney in the case, said.

“We will not be frightened by corporate bullying,” he insisted. “Chevron is trying to turn the victims of its own unlawful misconduct into criminals. We will not stand for it.”

Chevron won a key decision last week when a federal judge ordered Ecuador to suspend enforcement of any judgment against the company.

For its part, Ecuador said it would comply with the ruling.

The case first began in 1993 when the Ecuadorian plaintiffs accused Texaco of using unlined pits to store oil-drilling waste. A decade later, the case moved to Ecuador after Texaco had been bought by Chevron.

The plaintiffs were asking for $113 billion in damages. Chevron expected to lose the case, which could be decided in a matter of weeks or months.

This video from Amazon Watch was published last year, by Ecuadorians who were affected by Texaco’s activities.

Message from Ecuador to Chevron CEO John Watson from Amazon Watch on Vimeo.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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  • Anonymous

    it will be the whole world soon enough… but who in america makes enough money, thanks to the recession, to care about clean energy anymore? oh well… sorry grandkids, grandma and grandpa didnt WANT you to have cancer and die young.. but you see there was this housing bubble..

  • Anonymous

    So is this the libertarian way? No need for an EPA, just battle it out in the courts.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    “Mr. Chevron” , the U.S. “citizen” , is above the law….

  • dk504

    These people, these oil corporations, can’t say people, they lost that honor. They have no honor, no integrity, no dignity, how dare they use they monstrous profits to further destroy the people who help make them so filthy, obscenely rich not pay for the clean up.
    What making a dollar and crushing necks isn’t enough for you fuckers? Gotta wipe off the face of the earth so there is no chance they can bother toy any longer? Now why don’t they pay taxes again?

  • Anonymous

    The Libertarian way would also implement ‘tort reform’ to the point that a court battle would be impossible to pursue. Nothing can be allowed to get between a corporation and a dollar.

  • Anonymous

    It’s Crazy, this is the First I have heard of it, but I can be 100% Sure Chevron is Guilty. Why is that?

  • Anonymous

    “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” John Perkins

  • Anonymous

    They will spend $100 million on lawyers and have it reduced to a slap on the wrist of one of their assistants.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    A drop in the bucket for a companies that earns many, many billions per year.

  • RottenJohnny

    But . . . but . . . companies can’t pollute the planet; they say so. Just ask them.

  • Anonymous

    “Tort reform” is just another way of saying that ordinary people should be deprived of their legal rights. Our laws are there to protect us, but ‘tort reform’ seems to mean that only giant corporations with regiments of lawyers should win in court, so –don’t even try.

    This decision is gratifying, though who knows it if it will ever really be implemented.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Screw the oil companies.

  • Ed Dominguez

    At least John Roberts and Clarance Thomas & friends wont decide the fine.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    I rejoice in this rare instance of justice for indigenous people. Perhaps the oil companies will clean up their act in other places in order to avoid similar judgments. But maybe I am just overly optimistic because of the Egypt thing. (Viva la Revolution!). Whether they do or not, there are still some huge bills that remain to be paid – the disgusting and flagrant ecocide off the Nigerian coast comes to mind – a far bigger mess than that created by Deepwater Horizon.

    The result will show up in higher prices for everything that has petrochemical inputs (ie everything). Maybe we find a way to use less oil without reducing our standard of living, and maybe we bite the bullet and call it reality. I stopped driving a decade ago, and I have had to make a lot of compromises for life on a bicycle, but I am almost as fit as I was in the eighties, when I was competing in marathons, so there have been significant benefits as well. Too bad the economy is already in the toilet – we should have done this a long time ago, when the pain would have been less.

  • Anonymous

    Things are shaping up.

  • Anonymous

    I guess it’s time to invade Ecuador. They hate our freedom. Think of the awesome park Disney can build on the Galapagos.

  • MothMan

    What an excuse to drive up oil prices by $50 a barrel.

    Peas and Rice, what a racket

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to sit right here and hold my breath until Chevron hands over that Check…….. Yeah right…………….

  • Guest

    THERE’S your precious free market at work, Paul groupies! I’m sure by the time years and years of court battles have passed and the fines are dramatically reduced and we are living in a toxic wasteland, the ‘magic of the marketplace” will fix everything! Yeah sure.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    And they’ll do exactly what their pal EXXON did with the Valdes disaster: drag their feet from court to court for 20 years till they finally make it to the Corporate Supreme Court where they loyal subjects in the black houserobes determine that they don’t owe anything. It’s a true and tried strategy of those with the money to buy justice.

  • Guest

    google “Steorn”

    They actually did it. Free energy.

    Maybe if enough of us get the news out…

    The greedy bastards at the top of the corporations, you know, the guys who live the Berlusconi life, bags of candy and other people’s kids on the weekend? They’ll never clue in. They too busy propping their cocks on drugs so they can stay seventeen for the rest of their lives…

    These are the people in charge. THEY are the ones using up our Earth, THEY are the ones creating all the conflict – all so they can keep getting their dicks sucked.

    Had Enough Of Your Kids Being Raped Yet Peasants???

  • Anonymous

    They’ll never pay and if they do it will be a mere fraction of the 8.2 billion notwithstanding the fact that 8.2 billion may only amount to 6 months of profits for Chevron.

  • Anonymous

    Great! Chevron should pay but $8.2 billion is only a drop in the bucket. Now if you say $108.2 billion then we’re on to something.

  • http://gaia-health.com/ Heidi Stevenson

    No, they have no honor, no integrity, no dignity – but what the hell, they’ve got the money!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5GCX6PQO3UGSZDWDK6I6CPLCGI Travis the second

    and there’s a new ad being run on the air waves by chevron promoting their renewable energy promises utilizing a sweet child to further promote their ‘msg’.

  • Jaimie11

    Where did you get that information? Please link to it. Thanks.