The fraudulent lawsuit against San Ramon-based Chevron in Ecuador has hit a giant roadblock in the form of Brazil’s Supreme Court of Justice. According to the Amazon Post, the “Superior Court of Justice (STJ) has certified that its November 2017 dismissal of the Ecuador plaintiffs’ recognition action against Chevron Corporation is final and no appeal is now possible.”
This is the final chapter of the Brazil effort on the part of Ecuador plaintiff’s lawyers. On November 28 of 2017, the Brazil Supreme Court of Justice determined that based on a lack of Brazilian jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s didn’t have a case. More specifically, the fact that Chevron does not have, and never had, assets in Ecuador, made the plaintiff’s lawsuit baseless, according to the Brazil Supreme Court of Justice.
And the Amazon Post reports that the Brazil Supreme Court of Justice “held that the Ecuadorian Judgment may not be enforced against Chevron’s indirect subsidiary in Brazil because the subsidiary is a separate and distinct legal entity, is not the judgment debtor, and was not a party to the Ecuadorian proceedings.”
This is nothing new. Chevron essentially inherited the plaintiffs lawsuit when it purchased Texaco in 2005. Prior to that, Texaco had been an oil production partner with Ecuador between 1967 and 1992, when the partnership ended. Texaco had a contractual obligation to conduct environmental cleanup, and says that $40 million was spent to do that in 1998. The Texaco / Ecuador Partnership was called “TextPet” and was mostly owned by Ecuador’s state-run oil company PetroEcuador by 1989.
When plaintiff’s lawyer Steven Donziger established his lawsuit in 1994, and continued to work on it in Ecuador, he established a very close relationship with Ecuador President Rafael Correa, starting in 2006. That formed the basis for a one-sided approach that favored and protected Correa from blame for oil spills that occurred frequently due to PetroEcuador actions under his administration; they always blamed Chevron. Again, Chevron was never there.
Donziger used a number of troublesome tactics to get what was a $19 billion judgement against Chevron and by the Ecuador Court in 2011. Mr. Donziger bribed judges, and even wrote the Ecuador Court’s judgement decision against Chevron.
As the Brazil Supreme Court of Justice observered, Ecuadorian judgment “was issued in an irregular manner, especially under deplorable acts of corruption” and, thus, represents “an offense against the international public order and even to good customs.”
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