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Ontario judge denies request to expand enforcement case against Chevron

Financial Post - Drew Hasselback 26/01/2017

Chevron Canada is a distinct and separate legal entity from U.S.-based Chevron Corp., an Ontario judge has ruled Canadian Press

Chevron Canada is a distinct and separate legal entity from U.S.-based Chevron Corp., an Ontario judge has ruled Canadian Press

An Ontario judge has refused to add another of Chevron Corp.’s Canadian subsidiaries to an enforcement action launched by plaintiffs from Ecuador.

Judge Glenn Hainey of the Ontario Superior Court last Friday granted summary judgment dismissing the case against Chevron’s operating Canadian subsidiary, Chevron Canada.

He said the Ecuador trial judgment was entered against U.S.-based Chevron Corp., not Chevron Canada. As Legal Post reported, the judge applied the principle of corporate separateness to distinguishe Chevron Corp. from Chevron Canada, which is seven steps removed in the U.S. oil company’s organization chart.

The plaintiffs wanted to add another Canadian subsidiary to the case,  Chevron Canada Capital Company or CCCC. The company, incorporated in Nova Scotia, sits in sixth place, just above Chevron Canada in that organization chart.

Justice Hainey denied the request to add CCCC to the enforcement case in a ruling issued Wednesday.

The judge said that his original analysis on corporate separateness also applies to CCCC, and added that the original claim discloses no cause of action against CCCC.

Judge Hainey also found that since CCCC is registered in Nova Scotia and has no assets or operations in Ontario, the province’s Rules of Civil Procedure provide no grounds to serve the company with the claim.

The enforcement action, Yaiguaje v. Chevron, flows from a US$9.5 billion pollution judgment issued against the oil company by an Ecuador trial court. Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, so the plaintiffs have brought the case to Ontario in hopes of enforcing the judgment against the company’s Canadian assets.

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