Caso Chevron

Chevron victory against Ecuador lawsuit

The $8.6 billion Ecuador lawsuit against Chevron.

Latinvex 28/06/2022

Chevron victory against Ecuador lawsuit

Chevron victory against Ecuador lawsuit

This month, the Second Circuit upheld criminal contempt conviction and six-month sentence of attorney Steven Donziger for not complying with court orders in a fraud and racketeering case involving Chevron Corp.'s operations in Ecuador and the $8.6 billion judgment Donziger won against the company, Bloomberg reported.

As Latinvex previously has stated, the Chevron Ecuador case is a fascinating story of lies, damned lies and statistics mixed with parallels to David versus Goliath and Erin Brockovitch. Except that in this case, David is the bad guy and certainly no Erin Brockovitch.

The “David” in question is Donziger, a US activist lawyer who has stopped at nothing to achieve his goal of getting Chevron to pay billions of dollars for environmental damage in Ecuador.

In March 2014, a US judge revealed just how far Donziger had gone. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that a $9.5 billion verdict in Lagro Agrio in Ecuador against Chevron was based in fraud.  “The decision in the Lago Agrio case was obtained by corrupt means,” he said. “The defendants here may not be allowed to benefit from that in any way.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my 33 years as a lawyer and public prosecutor,” Mastro told Latinvex before the trial ended. “It’s really the brazenness, the audaciousness  of the conduct, and then to take the false narrative created in Ecuador and trumpet it in the US, to shake down a US company.”

Business leaders and experts had hailed Chevron’s efforts to fight the lawsuit.

“The conclusion that the Ecuadorian lawsuit against Chevron was fraudulent has been well documented, and it has been confirmed in the judgment of the international investment community, which sees now that Ecuador is not a safe place to invest,” Jodi Hanson Bond, Vice President for the Americas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Latinvex in 2013.

Many foreign investors were quietly cheering on Chevron’s efforts to uncover the truth behind the questionable legal judgments they have faced in Ecuador, said John Price, Managing DirectorAmericas Market Intelligence. 

“If their efforts help dissuade other opportunists from pursuing frivolous legal cases against investors, then the future of foreign investment and technology transfer into Latin America will be much brighter,” he said.

That has meant spending a small fortune on external lawyers and experts as well as internal re-allocation of resources.

“I doubt any other US multinational in Latin America has come anywhere near what Chevron has spent on attorneys, investigators and media consultants,” said Simon Strong, president of Tenacitas International and an expert on Andean affairs. “But Chevron is on the hook for an enormous sum and the current Ecuadorian government has its friends. I think it very unlikely the Ecuadorians' claim will prosper in the US but some countries … view it sympathetically and will pressure their courts accordingly to freeze Chevron assets. So Chevron has had no choice but to fight what has become a global battle, on all fronts.”

Bond agrees. “This must be the costliest fight of its kind, but it’s part of an unfortunate trend of the U.S. plaintiffs’ bar trying to go global,” she says.

Fuente Original