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U.S. supermajor Chevron Corp. said it was victorious in a long-running legal battle against alleged misconduct in Ecuador and a fraudulent lawyer.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Court affirmed a lower court ruling that found no basis or enforceability for a $9.5 billion judgment against the company in Ecuador.
“This decision, which is consistent with the findings of numerous judicial officers in the United States and South America, leaves no doubt that the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron is the illegitimate and unenforceable product of misconduct,” R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “Chevron is pleased that the truth has prevailed over fraud and corruption.”
Plaintiffs in Ecuador blamed Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001, for environmental contamination and adverse health effects tied to operations in the country’s rainforests from 1972 to 1990.
Chevron announced an international arbitration tribunal found an agreement reached between Texaco and the government in Ecuador released Texaco and its affiliates of any liability from environmental claims.
The court ruled in part that lawyer Steven Donziger was barred from enforcing the case. A federal court in New York in 2014 found Donziger had violated the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act in his role of defending the Ecuadorian plaintiffs. Donziger, for his part, has suggested he was caught in the cross hairs of one of the biggest oil companies in the world.
According to Chevron, since Donziger’s actions were revealed, several of his former allies have stepped away from “his scheme.”