Chevron's Legacy

Chevron's Legacy
The Pollution Chevron Left Behind...Shushufindi pit 38. Chevron's scientists found no contamination at this pit.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ecuadorians File Suit In Canada Against Chevron To Collect Money Awarded By Court In Historic Lawsuit

Ecuadorian plaintiffs started the process of enforcing the $18 billion court judgement by filing a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario to take over various assets that Chevron and its subsidiaries hold in Canada. Press release with more details below.

Ecuadorians Hit Chevron With $18 Billion Enforcement Action In Canada 

Toronto, Ontario – Villagers from Ecuador's rainforest today filed a lawsuit in Canada as the first step in forcing the company to comply with an $18 billion court judgment rendered in Ecuador and imposed to permit the clean-up of what experts believe is the largest oil disaster on the planet.

The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, (see here) targets Chevron and various subsidiaries that together hold significant assets in the country – including Canada's largest offshore drilling project and new investments in oil sands in the province of Alberta, said Alan Lenczner, the noted Canadian litigator representing the Amazon communities. Canada also has a law that allows interest to run on a foreign judgment during the enforcement process, potentially adding a significant amount to the judgment against the oil giant.

The Ecuadorians, who consist of the inhabitants of five indigenous groups and approximately 70 farmer communities, are being forced to file enforcement actions because Chevron refuses to pay the judgment imposed by an Ecuador trial court in February 2011, which was later affirmed by Ecuador's court of appeals in January. The oil giant has virtually no assets in Ecuador.

Pablo Fajardo, the lead lawyer for the Ecuadorians and the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize and a CNN "Hero" Award, said his clients were intent on collecting the entire judgment.

"The time for delay is over," he said. "For decades Chevron refused to address the contamination that has devastated our ancestral lands. While Chevron might think it can ignore court orders in Ecuador, it will be impossible to ignore a court order in Canada where a court may seize the company's assets if necessary to secure payment.

"We plan to exercise our legal right to collect every penny of the legitimate judgment from Ecuador, even if we have to drag Chevron kicking and screaming into courts around the world," said Fajardo, who grew up in poverty working in Ecuador's oil fields and who put himself through law school specifically to hold Chevron accountable for the environmental disaster. See this article in Vanity Fair about Fajardo.

The judgment in Ecuador resulted from an eight-year trial that produced more than 64,000 soil and water samples that pointed to extensive contamination at more than 350 Chevron well sites and oil production stations in a large swath of Ecuador's northern Amazon region, known as the Oriente. This area was considered one of the most bio-diverse areas on earth before Chevron – to lower production costs – deliberately discharged billions of gallons of toxic waste into the environment, decimating local tribesmen and plummeting the region into a tailspin of despair from which it has yet to recover, according to evidence before the court.

(A video that explains Chevron's substandard operational practices in Ecuador and efforts to corrupt the trial process can be seen here.)

The result of the dumping, according to evidence presented at trial, is a public health crisis and the poisoning of a large swath of pristine rainforest that indigenous communities had relied on for millennia for their sustenance. Five indigenous groups – the Cofan, Secoya, Siona, Quichua, and Huaroni – are struggling to survive. Part of the judgment will be used to restore the forest so that the indigenous communities can return to their hunting and gathering traditions, said Fajardo.

Lenczner, the Canadian litigator who is representing the Ecuadorians, is considered by Chambers Global to be one of the top lawyers in Canada, having appeared in courts in all ten provinces and argued numerous cases before the country's Supreme Court. He is the founding partner of Lenczner & Slaght, a boutique litigation firm with approximately 50 lawyers that recently was named one of the top ten litigation firms in the country by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

"I am honored to have been asked by the indigenous people of Ecuador to correct a historic injustice visited upon them by Chevron," said Lenczner, who visited Ecuador and reviewed the extensive trial and appellate records of the case, which exceed 250,000 pages.

"Chevron fought for nine years to move the trial from the United States to Ecuador, and then had a full opportunity for eight years to defend itself in Ecuador," Lenczner added. “This is a legitimate judgment and I believe Canadian courts will recognize it and enforce it as such."

Fajardo said that the Ecuadorians have a list of countries that are possible targets for enforcement actions and that additional actions are likely to be filed to ensure the full amount of the judgment can be satisfied. A significant portion of Chevron's assets are located around the world in over 70 wholly-owned subsidiaries and 75% of the company's annual profits are derived outside of the U.S., according to an analysis by the plaintiffs.

Almost all countries have specific laws governing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Most of the laws favor enforcement, subject to specific exceptions such as lack of jurisdiction or fraud. Chevron has stated it will try to block enforcement by alleging fraud, but the Ecuadorian trial and appellate courts directly addressed the allegations and rejected them. See the lower court judgment and the appellate court judgment.

Representatives of the affected population, who meet every two months in the rainforest in a body called the Assembly of the Affected Ones (Asamblea de Afectados), were thrilled that the first enforcement action was filed. The local population has suffered from high rates of cancer, spontaneous miscarriages, and oil-related diseases. See here, here, and here.

"This is a historic day for us," said Luis Yanza, the coordinator of the Assembly. "We might be impoverished materially but we are rich in spirit. The time has now come to use the force of law to make Chevron clean up its pollution. No company, even one as rich and powerful as Chevron, is above the law."

In Canada, Chevron's biggest assets are a 20% interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, which yields a capacity of 255,000 barrels per day and supplies 10% of Canada's oil needs; the Hibernia project, which is Canada's largest offshore drilling project; and the Ells River concession, which covers 75,000 acres and contains up to an estimated 7.5 billion barrels of oil.

Chevron also is the largest gasoline convenience store marketer in British Columbia through a network of 162 service stations, 134 Town Pantry convenience stores, and 21 White Spot Triple O quick-serve restaurants. Chevron also owns the Burnaby refinery, which processes over 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

Total daily production for Chevron in Canada in 2011 averaged 29,000 barrels of crude oil, 4 million cubic feet of natural gas, and 40,000 barrels of synthetic oil from oil sands, according to public disclosures of the company. Canada is one of the top ten markets in the world for Chevron's capital spending in 2012, according to the company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing of the enforcement action comes on the heels of a major challenge by Chevron shareholders over the Ecuador matter.

Today Chevron CEO John Watson suffered a stunning reprimand during a tense annual meeting when investors holding over 38% of the company's shares (representing $73 billion worth of stock) voted for a resolution that directly challenged his authority because of the Ecuador case. Last week, 40 institutional shareholders representing $570 billion under management – including the New York state pension fund – urged the company to settle the Ecuador litigation.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

As Bad As Chevron Behaved Last Year, This Year It's Worse

Rebecca Tarbotton got it exactly right in her blog yesterday, titled Chevron's Worst Year Ever.

 As bad as oil companies behave -- both here at home and abroad -- Chevron takes the cake, especially this year. In a series of blogs, Tarbotton is posting about the oil giant's massive legal losses in Ecuador, its offshore disasters in Brazil and Nigeria, the indisputable contamination it is causing today in Kazakhstan, as well as the tragic deaths of the company's own employees in several locations, including in its home state of California.

Tarbotton is amplifying the voices of people who live in these countries and are fighting Chevron's efforts to hide behind its feel-good public face of expensive advertising designed to misled people, especially here in the United States.

She quotes from a letter to Chevron, written by Sergey Solyanik of Crude Accountability about the village of Berezovka in Kazakhstan:

"For nine years the residents of the village of Berezovka, which is located a mere five kilometers from the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field, have been fighting for relocation to an environmentally clean and safe location. When exploitation of the field first began, the health of the 1300 residents of Berezovka radically worsened. The population is now suffering regularly from headaches and memory loss, muscular-skeletal problems, vision loss, cardio-vascular difficulties, serious gastroenterological problems, upper respiratory illness, and skin ailments. According to independent data, approximately half of the villagers suffer from chronic illness. The residents feel the impacts of hydrogen sulfide and other toxic chemicals that are connected with oil extraction and refining." 

Solyanik was one of about 30 people who Chevron threw out of a shareholder meeting two years ago, even though he had a legitimate proxie and had traveled all the way from Kazakhstan just to attend. While Solyanik will not be able to attend Chevron's shareholder meeting next week on May 30th, Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua of Ecuador will.

Here are the words of Cusangua, a farmer whose source of water has been contaminated by Chevron's oil.  She wrote to Chevron:

"We have won the lawsuit against Chevron, but still the company doesn’t want to accept responsibility for what they have done. They have no shame. They remain arrogant. They call us liars. But I have lived through the contamination that they left here. They can’t contradict me! The river close to my house was our source of life, and when Texaco drilled the wells Sacha 89, 90, 91 and even Sacha 5 and 13, the river became filled with oil. My children suffered because of the contamination. Their feet rotted, they had warts and rashes on their skin. And my mother got cancer on her nose. Do you think that there would be so much cancer in a virgin forest? I remember the nights when my feet would burn, and I would cry from pain, and slowly my feet would start to rot, and the skin would fall off piece by piece. All of this sickness was caused by the contamination that Chevron left here in the Amazon."

Luz Trinidad Andrea Cusangua

Tarbotton will be featuring the opinions of other people from across the globe in future blogs.

Chevron will dismiss these people and say that they are lying; that others are to blame; that there is a grand worldwide conspiracy to extort money from the company.

But it cannot be that so many people from so many countries are so wrong, and Chevron is so right.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chevron's Grand Shareholder Deception

Hew Pate, Chevron's $7.8 Million Lawyer, “Celebrates" Another Legal Defeat At the Hands of Ecuador's Rainforest Communities


The rulings this week by U.S. federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan denying Chevron's motion for attachment in the Ecuador case was by any reasonable measure a setback for the oil giant in its campaign to evade paying the $18 billion court judgment.  In fact, it is the latest of string of stunning losses for Chevron in courts in the U.S. and Ecuador over the last several months -- losses that can be laid at the doorstep of R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron's General Counsel and the mastermind behind the company's increasingly confused legal strategy in the Ecuador matter. See here.

These losses include a unanimous reversal in January by a U.S. federal appeals court of an injunction purportedly barring enforcement of the Ecuador judgment and an affirmance earlier this year by the Ecuador appellate court of the overwhelming evidence that the company committed crimes and fraud in Ecuador. See here and here.

Chevron's contamination in Ecuador also has been confirmed by numerous independent journalists and is simply indisputable -- see this 60 Minutes segment and this video prepared by the plaintiffs.  In addition, Chevron's lead outside law firm in the case -- Gibson Dunn & Crutcher -- has been sanctioned repeatedly for committing ethical violations even as it bills the company hundreds of millions of dollars as part of a "rescue operation". See here.

One would never know from Pate that the legal prospects of Chevron are dimming or that the company is being taken for a ride by Gibson Dunn.  In a press release that can only be described as the ultimate in chutzpah, Pate celebrated Chevron's latest legal defeat yesterday by claiming "victory" because the judge tossed out only a few of the fraud claims the company filed against lawyers for the plaintiffs as opposed to all of the claims.  In keeping with his spin, Pate failed to mention in his press release that Kaplan expressly found that Chevron is unlikely to prevail on the remaining fraud claims.

We have said it before:  Pate and the higher-ups in Chevron management are leading Chevron and its shareholders down a dangerous path over the Ecuador liability, and possibly over a cliff.  The spin is getting increasingly desperate as the walls begin to close in on the company's plan to evade paying the judgment.

Whether spinning bad news into fake news is a deliberate strategy or a function of internal self-delusion can be sorted out by others -- including SEC regulators who have been called on to determine whether the company is producing materially false and misleading information about the Ecuador liability. See here.

These are our takeaways on the Kaplan decisions this week:

1) Pate's latest press release shows the company continues to mislead shareholders over the Ecuador liability, as documented in stunning detail by Canadian securities lawyer Graham Erion in this report released in April. Pate's press release was designed to sugarcoat an adverse legal decision, exactly the kind of gamesmanship that regulators frown upon.  Expect a new report soon from the plaintiffs on how Pate's press releases on the Ecuador case are designed to hide risks from shareholders and the markets.

2) Judge Kaplan, who used to consistently favor Chevron in his decisions, has started to lose his appetite for the case after getting sternly rebuked in January by the U.S. court of appeals in New York.  Not only did Kaplan deny a Chevron motion to attach the assets of the Ecuadorians for the second time, he also dismissed two fraud claims and cast serious doubt on Chevron's remaining RICO claims against American lawyer Steven Donziger. (The Ecuadorians maintains that Chevron's claims are baseless and are a ruse to distract attention from its own criminal misconduct in Ecuador.)

3) It is increasingly clear that Chevron's RICO case is a dog reluctant to hunt.  Worse for Chevron, if the case hunts -- as in, actually survives various motions to dismiss and gets to a jury -- it can bite Chevron far more harshly than it can bite Donziger or his Ecuadorian clients.   Chevron will be on the defensive because of counterclaims about its attempts to corrupt the Ecuadorian judicial system.  A jury will be able to hear evidence about Chevron's sham remediation, its efforts to bribe Ecuador's government, its attempts to doctor evidence through its "dirty tricks" operative Diego Borja, and its threats to judges.  All of this has been detailed in a sworn affidavit from Juan Pablo Saenz, an Ecuadorian lawyer.

4) Pate is going to have a whale of a time explaining the Ecuador problem at the company's upcoming annual meeting on May 30.  How he explains why several prominent law firms around the world have rallied to the cause of the Ecuadorians when the case is supposedly an "extortionate scheme" will be interesting to watch. Further, a large group of Chevron shareholders is pressuring the SEC to investigate Chevron based on the Erion report, which exposes out of control risk-taking and an apparent cover-up.  Expect several pension funds to speak out with a more forceful voice.

Multiple lawsuits against Chevron assets in various jurisdictions are now looming over the company.  Once these actions are filed and start progressing through the courts, Chevron will have a hard time entering into partnerships or making further investments in countries that could be strategically important to the company's growth.

In the meantime, Chevron's feckless Board of Directors awarded Pate a 75% pay increase (to $7.8 million) for losing the Ecuador case. See here. Because of Pate's bungling of the Ecuador matter, billions of dollars of Chevron assets are now at risk of being attached, seized, and auctioned off at fire sale prices because the company refuses to comply with its legal obligations.  In the double-dealing inside world of Chevron-land, this merits an extraordinary pay raise.



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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bad Day For Chevron: Even Chevron's Favorite Judge Says Oil Giant Will Likely Fail In Its Effort To Escape Justice In Ecuador

Meanwhile Shareholders Call For SEC Investigation

Yesterday was a bad day for Chevron once again. Its favorite judge, Lewis Kaplan, basically said the charges the oil giant has brought against the Ecuadorians and their representatives are not likely to stand up in court. And, Chevron shareholders asked the SEC to investigate the company's lack of disclosure concerning the risks it faces from the $18 billion judgment.

See here about the SEC investigation. Below is the press statement released by the Amazon Defense Coalition about Kaplan's ruling:
Chevron suffered two new legal setbacks today when a U.S. federal judge who usually favors the company rejected its attempt to attach the assets of the Ecuadorians and their counsel who won an $18 billion judgment for environmental damage and separately tossed out two fraud-related claims against an American lawyer, according to published court decisions.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan -- who for the last two years has almost uniformly favored Chevron in the hotly contested case -- also cast doubt on the viability of Chevron's two remaining claims under the federal civil racketeering statute, dealing another blow to the oil giant's campaign to evade paying the landmark judgment that was issued in February of 2011.
The decisions are the latest in a series of legal setbacks this year against Chevron over the $18 billion judgment.  They include the unanimous reversal of Kaplan in a U.S. federal appeals court of a worldwide injunction against enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment; an Ecuadorian appellate court's confirmation of a trial court decision that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into Ecuador's Amazon; and now, a refusal to attach the assets of the Ecuadorians and a narrowing of the fraud case.
Kaplan also cast doubt on the remaining RICO claims, saying they "raised a question concerning whether and to what extent Chevron may recover ... for injuries sustained" outside of the United States.
"Suffice it to say for present purposes that Chevron on the present record has not established that it is likely to prevail on its claim" that funds spent to defend the case in Ecuador would be recoverable in the fraud case, essentially eviscerating the company's ability to recover damages, according to the court.
In making his rulings on a pre-trial motion to dismiss the fraud case, Kaplan was required by law to assume that all facts alleged by Chevron were true even though they are contested by the rainforest communities and their counsel, who allege that Chevron committed criminal acts and fraud to cover up its extensive contamination in the South American nation.
Yet even with the assumption its disputed allegations were true, Chevron still found two of its claims tossed out and was soundly rebuked by Kaplan on the attachment issue, said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the Ecuadorians.  At this point, Chevron is the only party in the litigation facing attachment of its assets given that the Ecuador judgment is enforceable around the world, Hinton added.
"These rulings by Judge Kaplan are yet another devastating setback for Chevron's prospects to avoid paying the Ecuador judgment," said Hinton.  "The fact Chevron is now running into resistance from its most favored U.S. federal judge shows just how dim the company's legal outlook has become on the Ecuador case."
"Chevron has suffered a virtually uninterrupted string of defeats in courts in Ecuador and the United States over the past year and we expect this trend to continue in the coming months in courts around the world," Hinton added.
Hinton also released this statement to reporters:
"Judge Kaplan's decisions to deny Chevron attachment and to throw out several fraud claims represent yet another setback for the oil company and its shareholders.  In the last year, Chevron has seen courts in Ecuador and the U.S. vacate its worldwide injunction against enforcement of the Ecuador judgment; affirm the Ecuador trial court judgment; reject an international investor arbitration attempt to block the Ecuador trial; deny a motion to attach the assets of the Ecuadorian rainforest communities; and throw out a good portion of its fraud case against the Ecuadorians and their American lawyers.  Given that it still refuses to pay the Ecuador judgment, it is Chevron that now faces attachment actions against billions of dollars of company assets in courts around the world for intentionally polluting the Ecuadorian rainforest.
"That said, Chevron's RICO charges always have been baseless and are nothing more than a public relations stunt to hide the company's environmental abuses and fraud in Ecuador that destroyed the rainforest and killed numerous people with cancer and other oil-related diseases. If the RICO case proceeds to trial, which is highly doubtful in light of today's ruling, the rainforest communities and their counsel plan to file counterclaims against Chevron and certain of its executives for fraud and are confident that the case will result in a finding of additional liability against individuals in Chevron who are responsible for the environmental disaster and cover-up."


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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Preparing Fourth Hit Job On $18 Billion Ecuador Judgment

We are flattered to report that the Wall Street Journal editorial page is once again trying to carry water for Chevron's public relations flaks over the company's $18 billion judgment for creating the world's worst oil disaster in Ecuador.  Chevron has hired six public relations firms and almost 500 lawyers to undermine the communities that sued the company.

The irrepressible Mary Anastasia O'Grady – who purports to comment on events in Latin American as a columnist – called Karen Hinton, the spokesperson for the Ecuadorians, and, in a hurried interview yesterday, asked a series of questions reflecting Chevron's misleading talking points about the Ecuador trial.  O'Grady said she is preparing a column on Chevron's claim that an expert report submitted to the court was "secretly" authored by the plaintiffs.  This is one of Chevron's urban myths that has been fully debunked by the plaintiffs and rejected by Ecuador's appellate courts.

Let's test O'Grady's integrity.  Hinton sent her the following email responding to her questions in writing.  Read it and judge for yourself how much of these facts make it into O'Grady's upcoming column, should she indeed publish it:

Mary,

I want to reinforce and expand upon my answers to some of the questions you raised today in our phone call about the Chevron case in Ecuador. I am hoping you will strongly consider all of my comments as you write your column and not gloss over them. 

It is clear your questions are based on Chevron's misleading talking points. One of my colleagues informs me that you interviewed him by phone in 2007 and that you subsequently canceled a meeting where he was prepared to present information refuting Chevron's arguments as lies. Even though you did not write then on this issue, the editorial page of your newspaper has subsequently staged three separate attacks against the case based on Chevron's misinformation and extrajudicial strategy to undermine the proceedings to evade accountability for creating what is likely the world's worst oil-related disaster. We wrote letters to the editor in response to each of those articles correcting various inaccuracies. We hope that process does not repeat itself with your column.

We also have confirmed that the WSJ editorial page never disclosed that at least one of the two unsigned editorials attacking the Ecuador case was written by Bret Stephens, a columnist and now deputy editorial page editor who previously had written a signed column on the same issue with the same viewpoint.   

Here is some additional perspective on some of the issues you raised:

On whether Richard Cabrera met with the plaintiffs before he was appointed the global expert, and whether he and the plaintiffs planned what the global report would say:

Chevron has presented thousands of pages of papers and videos to the Ecuador court on this issue, and that court rejected the material as irrelevant and disregarded the results of the Cabrera report in making its decision finding Chevron liable.  Instead, it based its decision on 104 other technical reports -- the majority submitted by court experts named by Chevron, paid by Chevron, and whose reports were written by Chevron lawyers -- in deciding that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon, abandoned hundreds of toxic waste pits, flared poisonous gas into the air, and therefore should pay for a clean-up of what experts consider to be the world's worst oil-related disaster.

That said, there is nothing wrong with the Cabrera report. The contents of that report -- which relied heavily on Chevron's own technical reports submitted as evidence that proved contamination -- is valid from a technical and empirical standpoint.  Some of the information and conclusions were presented to Cabrera by top-level technical experts, consistent with court rules. The fact Cabrera adopted these findings and relied on his own independent soil and water sampling reflected his judgment that they were valid and reflected the evidence.  This is no different than what judges do all the time in the U.S. when presented with findings of fact and conclusions of law by the parties in a disputed litigation. The fact Cabrera was paid exclusively by the plaintiffs was required by the Ecuador court; other court-named experts were paid exclusively by Chevron, also consistent with court rules that require the party asking for a report to pay for it.  Again, this is no different than a party in the U.S. paying for the costs of an expert witness.

Chevron boycotted the Cabrera report process because it did not want to legitimate any aspect of the proceeding that it knew it would lose based on the scientific evidence. Thousands of soil and water samples had already been taken by both parties that showed extensive contamination at 100% of Chevron's former well sites.  Chevron knew Cabrera had access to this data, and this fact terrified the company's lawyers. So Chevron now reaps what it sowed with its unilateral boycott: a report that does not reflect its point of view in any way, shape, or form.  But it did succeed in getting the report knocked out of evidence by waging an unrelenting, entirely improper pressure campaign against the judges presiding over the trial.

When Chevron says the plaintiffs met secretly with Cabrera, that is a complete misrepresentation of the process.  The plaintiffs met with Cabrera (and with other experts appointed by the court) consistent with court rules, as did Chevron's lawyers.  We remind you that to the extent these rules seem different than those in the U.S., it does not mean they reflect an inferior system.  In fact, these procedures are consistent with the rules in most civil law countries and have been confirmed as valid by multiple legal experts in Ecuador and elsewhere.  Chevron has been unable to cite one statute or court rule justifying its position on the Cabrera report.  

Chevron also has tried to market two additional lies about Cabrera -- that he was paid with a "secret" bank account, and that he was "bribed".  Both of these accusations collapse when viewed in light of the evidence. There was no secret bank account. Cabrera was always paid for work performed consistent with court rules and the contractual obligation of the parties to pay for experts who produced reports they requested.

On whether attorneys for the plaintiffs will be paid $5.7 billion in fees. The judgment categorizes how $9 billion will be spent on cleanup, water and health. Where does the rest of the money go?

If you are relying on documents Chevron obtained through discovery from U.S. counsel to opine on this issue, we are putting you on notice that those documents have been interpreted inaccurately by Chevron lawyers and in any event have been superseded by other documents.

The vast majority of the judgment will be used to remediate Chevron's horrific and deliberate contamination of the rainforest -- a contamination so great in magnitude that it dwarfs the size of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico where liability has been estimated to be a minimum of $40 billion.  By comparison, Chevron is getting off easy in Ecuador because the court rejected several claims for damages made by the rainforest communities.  The money will be used to remediate contaminated soils and groundwater, provide clean drinking water to dozens of communities, create a health care infrastructure to deal with high cancer rates in the region, and to restore indigenous lands.  The attorneys will be paid a modest contingency fee per private contract with the affected communities -- a fee that is low compared the two decades of work spent preparing and litigating the lawsuit, and the risk undertaken by lawyers in advancing their own funds and time in the pursuit of a fair result for their clients.

On Chevron's contention that the Cabrera report and the court judgment contain identical language from documents written by the plaintiffs.

As in the U.S. court system, a court expert or judge often adopts language offered to the court by one of the parties. What happened in Ecuador was no different. Cabrera accepted some of the documents we submitted because his own testing proved their accuracy.

Chevron's assertions about the "ghostwriting" of the judgment is a complete lie and reflects the company's desperation. The documents in question have been submitted to the court in various forms, either as direct submissions from the plaintiffs or Chevron, or via expert reports.  In fact, none of Chevron's so-called "experts" on this issue has even reviewed the entire trial record.  And some of their conclusions simply do not withstand serious inquiry.

This is nothing more than last-minute hysteria by a desperate litigant.  Chevron stalled the case for ten years in U.S. courts, thinking it would disappear once a U.S. federal judge moved it to Ecuador.  When the evidence of contamination began to pour in, Chevron began to cry foul as part of a concerted strategy to undermine the very court system it repeatedly had praised. The only way out was to either be held accountable or concoct accusations of fraud. Now that the communities have won a landmark victory and are preparing to enforce their judgment, Chevron is appealing once more to journalists with one-sided presentations of facts that have no relationship to the body of evidence that overwhelmingly proved Chevron's guilt.

Finally, we have extensively documented Chevron's violations of anti-bribery statutes in the U.S. and Ecuador in various sworn affidavits.  Most recently, Chevron offered a $1 billion bribe to Ecuador's government to extricate itself illegally from the lawsuit.  More information on this and other examples of Chevron's malfeasance and criminality can be found on the website www.chevrontoxico.com.

Conclusion

We hope and indeed expect our version of the facts will be reflected in your analysis and that you will not allow your column to become a de facto public relations tool for Chevron's unethical attempt to evade justice.

Best, 

Karen Hinton


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