Wednesday, June 8, 2011

American Judge Heaps Insults On Ecuadorian Indigenous Plaintiffs

U.S. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s distaste for the Ecuadorians suing Chevron was on clear display recently in his order denying their motion to recuse him for his apparent bias against their lawsuit in Ecuador.

Kaplan repeatedly has sided with Chevron's increasingly desperate efforts to escape the $18 billion Ecuador judgment against the company. An Ecuador judge in February found that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into streams and rivers, decimating indigenous groups in the Amazon and creating an outbreak of cancer and other oil-related diseases.

In the meantime, Kaplan has heaped insult after insult on the Ecuadorians who against all odds brought the lawsuit almost two decades ago against one of the world's largest and most powerful corporations. Kaplan is overseeing one of Chevron's many attacks against the Ecuador judgment in the U.S.

Among the many complaints in the motion to recuse Kaplan and a Writ of Mandamus submitted to the Second Circuit of Appeals in New York, lawyers for the Ecuadorians cited Kaplan’s repeated description of their clients as the “so-called Lago Agrio plaintiffs” as evidence that he is questioning their very existence.

In denying the motion to recuse, Kaplan begins his order with: The "so-called Lago Agrio plaintiffs" (emphasis added) recently obtained a multibillion dollar judgment against Chevron Corporation from a provincial court in Ecuador for alleged environmental pollution by Texaco, Inc. Find it here.

In the Writ, Patton Boggs lawyer James Tyrrell, who represents the Ecuadorians, wrote:
"…in an act of apparent spite wholly inconsistent with any notion of detached impartiality, the first six words of Judge Kaplan's Recusal Memorandum Opinion are 'the so-called Lago Agrio plaintiffs.'"
Tyrrell continued:
"From the beginning, Judge Kaplan has been careful to qualify his reference to the Ecuadorian Plaintiffs with the derisive modifier 'so-called' lest he advertently confer any semblance of legitimacy on these people,"
Tyrrell also noted that Kaplan once described the Ecuadorian plaintiffs as "a number of indigenous peoples said to reside in the Amazon rainforest."

An Amazon Defense Coalition press release provides more details.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chevron Groupie Posing As Journalist Removes His Blog From Web

Looks like Chevron groupie Alex Thorne has ended his short-lived career as a “journalist.” After the Amazon Defense Coalition issued a press release exposing Thorne masquerading as a journalist in an effort to undermine funding for an environmental advocacy group, Thorne deleted his blog and appears to be taking a hiatus from posting articles.

Karen Hinton, who represents the Ecuadorians suing Chevron for oil contamination, suggests that Thorne focus on his children, a worthy profession. Thorne admitted to Hinton last week that he was a “bored stay-at-home Dad,” not a journalist.