Monday, April 28, 2014

Under Fire, Chevron CEO Quietly Moves Annual Shareholder Meeting to Remote Town In Texas

Chevron CEO John Watson seems nervous about the Ecuadorian villagers who won a $9.5 billion judgment against his company for dumping toxic waste into the rainforest.

Apparently Watson is so nervous that he and Chevron General Counsel R. Hewitt Pate are making elaborate plans to move the company’s 2014 annual meeting from company headquarters near San Francisco to a rented petroleum museum in Midland, in the hinterlands of west Texas and a five-hour drive from the nearest metropolitan area of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

It is worth noting that Watson and Pate are making these elaborate plans – which will include flying in top management and Board members on a corporate jet -- despite the company’s self-proclaimed “victory” in March in a New York civil fraud case against the villagers and their lawyers.  As we recount here, the verdict is nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory resulting from the obvious biases of an activist American judge who tried to overrule Ecuador's Supreme Court on questions of Ecuadorian law.  We predict the decision will not survive appeal and in any event will either backfire against Chevron in enforcement courts abroad or be ignored.

Why are Watson and Pate are going to such great lengths to find a friendly location?

The deaths of many Ecuadorians from cancer are happening on their watch, and interest is running on the judgment to the tune of several million dollars per month as Chevron faces asset seizures in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.  The duo so bungled the company’s legal strategy in Ecuador – which included unethical and illegal efforts to sabotage the proceedings in the very forum where Chevron insisted the trial be held -- that Chevron now faces what is probably the largest court judgment in the history of environmental law.   For their work as the ultimate corporate insiders, Watson last year took home $24 million while Pate deposited around $6 million.

Watson, a hot-tempered man who in 2010 had five dissident shareholders forcibly removed and arrested at an annual meeting, might believe that few of his critics will show up in Midland given that there are scant commercial flights to the town’s small airport.  For the last decade, Chevron’s annual meeting near San Francisco invariably attracted a large protest involving Ecuadorian villagers who would enter via proxies and confront Watson directly.

Midland is a town of 120,000 that was founded as a train depo at the midway point between Forth Worth and El Paso. Now located near several major oil fields, the town has an industry-funded petroleum museum which Chevron will rent for its meeting and provide funds for to renovate its exhibit space.   

Among Watson’s Ecuador-related problems that are certain to be front and center during his stay in Midland:

·      Enforcement actions filed by the Ecuadorian villagers targeting billions of dollars of Chevron assets are advancing in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.  Last week, Canada’s Supreme Court said it would hear a narrow Chevron technical appeal on November 7.  If the court rejects Chevron’s appeal, as is expected, there will be a quick trial to determine whether the villagers can seize some of Chevron’s $15 billion worth of assets in the country to pay for the entirety of their judgment.

·    Chevron shareholders are voting on three resolutions that criticize Watson and his team for their mishandling of the Ecuador litigation.  One resolution takes direct aim at Watson by trying to split his dual roles of CEO and Chairman, long considered an outdated corporate governance practice.  Two years ago, that resolution received a whopping 38% favorable vote from all Chevron shares.

·     Another shareholder resolution that cites the Ecuador liability calls for the company to appoint a board member with environmental expertise.  Another would  make it easier for shareholders to call special meetings. 

·        Among the prominent Chevron shareholders backing the shareholder resolutions related to Ecuador are the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Trillium Asset Management, Amnesty International, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Swedish insurer Folksam, which has $32 billion under management.   The New York fund owns about $800 million of Chevron stock.

·      Watson also must face the fact that several high-profile celebrities have sided with the villagers and are urging the company to pay for a clean-up in Ecuador.  Among them are Sting, Trudie Styler, Roger Waters, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Brad Pitt, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cher.   At the recent 25th anniversary celebration of the founding of Sting and Trudie’s Rainforest Foundation, Chevron’s Ecuador contamination was messaged throughout an event that featured performances by Paul Simon, James Taylor, Dionne Warwick, and Renee Fleming.

·      In the meantime, Ecuador President Rafael Correa has launched a global diplomatic offensive against Chevron to force it to comply with a unanimous ruling of Ecuador’s Supreme Court that it pay for a clean-up of the rainforest.  And just last week, communities from five countries called for a boycott of all Chevron products to take place on May 21 of this year – an action that could spread around the world and become permanent, according to observers.

We tracked down our friend Chris Gowen, a professor of ethics at the Washington College of Law and a member of the trial team defending the villagers in the oil giant’s retaliatory RICO case.  We asked him what it means for Watson to move the annual meeting to a place like Midland.

Gowen said: “Watson appears to be trying to drown out the voices of his shareholder critics by increasing the hassle factor involved in confronting him face to face.  Public shareholder meetings like this are required by law, and any move that has the effect of diminishing the rights of shareholders to question company management is highly questionable.”

A director at the environmental group Amazon Watch, which has organized several protests against Chevron over its refusal to meet its legal obligations in Ecuador, was more blunt.

“Watson is squandering shareholder resources and leaving a huge carbon footprint by flying on a corporate jet to the hinterlands to avoid being confronted about his disastrous policies that violate human rights, most notably in Ecuador,” said Paul Paz y Miño, Online Director with the advocacy group.

It is not surprising that Watson would prefer to conduct the meeting in Midland given his unflattering history of grappling with his own shareholders and critics.   When challenged publicly, he often looks more like a fool than a skilled corporate executive.

In 2010, during his first annual meeting as CEO and Chairman, Watson famously cut off the microphone when villagers from Ecuador’s rainforest tried to confront him with evidence of the company’s environmental crimes in their home country. He later became so infuriated that he had the Houston police arrest five well-known critics of the company, including Han Shan (a U.S. spokesperson for the villagers) and Antonia Juhasz, the author of The True Cost of Chevron documenting the company’s environmental abuses around the world.

Chevron also has a long history of trying to deny the Free Speech rights of its many critics.  Just two weeks ago, the company booted Paz y Miño from a Chevron-sponsored event to promote energy sustainability hosted by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.  The company also started its own newspaper and has tried to fund friendly political candidates in the nearby town of Richmond, where Chevron was found to have committed criminal violations at a local refinery that caused a spate of health problems.

Watson also has been under criticism for his conflicts of interest on the Ecuador matter.  Watson was the Chevron executive who engineered the company’s takeover of Texaco (which operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992), apparently without adequately vetting it for its liability despite the pending litigation.

In the last two years alone, Watson’s personal compensation was far higher than the total amount Chevron claimed to have spent in the mid 1990s engaging in a remediation of its environmental problems in Ecuador, which the court there found to be fraudulent.  Watson’s yearly compensation is roughly the equivalent of the combined annual incomes of all 30,000 rainforest residents who originally sued the company.

Several reports (see here and here) by a Canadian securities lawyer demonstrate how Watson failed to adequately disclose the Ecuador risk to the public markets, leading to calls by shareholders and a U.S. Congresswoman for an SEC investigation of the company.  Expect Watson's problems with shareholder disclosure to be another major issue at the Midland meeting.

When powerful corporate executives go to great lengths to duck the little people, the move often backfires.  Driving five hours from Dallas to Midland is not that great a sacrifice for a villager whose life has been threatened by Chevron's scorched-earth litigation strategy. And when shareholders arrive in Midland, they might have something to say about the expenditure of company funds for Watson and his entourage to travel in high luxury to a remote Texas town.

Watson might be hoping for a calm meeting.  We predict a showdown in Midland. 

Background on Ecuador litigation

Chevron operated in Ecuador under the Texaco brand from 1964 to 1992.  By its own admission, it dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste water into the rainforest, poisoning an area the size of Rhode Island and leaving behind more than 900 toxic waste pits that still contaminate soils and groundwater.

The long-suffering indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador originally filed their claims in a New York federal court in 1993, but Chevron successfully fought to have the matter shifted to Ecuador where it promised to abide by any adverse judgment.  Chevron filed 14 sworn affidavits praising Ecuador’s court system.

Once the Ecuador trial began in 2003 and evidence against Chevron mounted, the company shifted gears and began to attack Ecuador’s courts and the lawyers who represented the villagers.  Two Ecuadorian appellate courts – including Ecuador’s highest court, the National Court of Justice -- have unanimously affirmed the trial court decision against the company, which was based on eight years of litigation, 220,000 pages of evidence, and 105 technical reports.  The trial court also imposed a punitive penalty after Chevron lawyers threatened judges with jail time and tried to sabotage the proceedings by filing duplicative motions, including 39 in one 50-minute period. 

As part of its scorched-earth retaliation campaign, Chevron sued five different lawyers who have represented the Ecuadorian communities, three funders of the lawsuit, the scientific consultancy that advised the legal team, and all 47 rainforest villagers named on the lawsuit. The company named numerous other environmental advocacy groups and individuals as "non-party co-conspirators" (a public relations term with no legal effect) in an attempt to intimidate people into abandoning the cause of the rainforest communities, said Paz y Miño of Amazon Watch.

For background on the overwhelming evidence against Chevron relied on by the Ecuador court, see this document; this video; and this 60 Minutes segment.

For evidence of Chevron’s long-term strategy to demonize the Ecuadorian communities and their lawyers, see this internal memo from the company’s public relations consultant, Sam Singer. Singer has been accused of secretly paying bloggers to parrot Chevron’s talking points without disclosing Chevron’s role.

For a letter signed by 43 U.S. civil advocacy groups criticizing Chevron for targeting its critics, see here.  For background on Chevron’s retaliatory RICO case, see this summary document and these legal petitions.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Bush Doctrine Comes to Oakland Courtesy of Chevron

Reposted from the Eye On the Amazon

Chevron continued its unprecedented campaign of attacking its critics last week when I was forcibly removed from a half-day conference I paid $75 to attend simply because I was affiliated with Amazon Watch. The strangest part was the excuse given for the outrageous step was that it was a preemptive act for something they feared I might do.

In a flagrant violation of my right of association, last Wednesday, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (OMCC) held an "Economic Development Summit for Energy and Sustainability" sponsored by Chevron. As an Oakland-based environmental organization it would seem to follow that Amazon Watch would be a welcome participant at just such an event. However, the moment my affiliation was made known I was told "Amazon Watch is not welcome here." And security was called to remove me. Why exactly?

Of course, Amazon Watch has repeatedly spoken out against Chevron attempts to greenwash itself of its Ecuador disaster. And so apparently, when Amazon Watch tweeted that we planned to attend a "sustainability summit" to ask why Chevron was the primary sponsor (given their record) that was deemed justification to have me forcibly removed. While at the conference I spoke to only one person in attendance and when asked if I was planning to "hand out information" I answered politely: "No. I am simply here to attend the conference and listen to the presentations." So despite my assurances that I was doing nothing more than attending, somehow the conference organizers deduced that I was going to be "disruptive" and took "preemptive action".

I wonder if the OMCC thinks the national news coverage and angry calls, emails and tweets  they've received since their outrageous acts were more "disturbing" than allowing me to stand and listen at their conference.

Once ejected, I immediately called the office of Oakland's mayor Jean Quan. The mayor had been a speaker at the conference less than an hour before the incident. Her office did reach out to the OMCC on my behalf, but they were "too busy" to answer the repeated calls. Perhaps they were on the other line with Chevron at the time. 

Later that day the OMCC issued what the mayor's office referred to as an apology. It states: 

"We're sorry to have asked a paying attendee to leave, and have reimbursed the cost of his ticket. Previous actions by Amazon Watch in other venues and their social-media messaging in advance of our conference raised our concern that this attendee (an employee of Amazon Watch) intended to be disruptive. We regret any misunderstanding on our part."

Of course, that was a lie. Chevron and the OMCC were determined to make sure Amazon Watch was not permitted to attend. The excuse that they feared we were going to be disruptive is unacceptable. Nor was this an isolated incident, but rather part of a growing threat to environmental advocacy for corporate accountability
Chevron is so scared of the truth that even having someone in the room who might talk about their acts is a threat. Is it any wonder they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars on greenwashing ads, fake news websitesbribes and retaliatory legal attacks?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Environmental Activist Forcibly Removed from Chevron-Sponsored Event in Oakland for Mocking the Company's 'News' Website

Re-posted from John Geluardi of the East Bay Express on April 16, 2014

Security guards forcibly removed Paul Paz y Miño, an employee of the environmental group Amazon Watch, from a Chevron-sponsored event today in Oakland because he was carrying flyers that he said he had planned to distribute outside the building after the program. When Paz y Miño, who had paid $75 for a ticket to the public event, refused to leave, guards forcibly removed him.
Called the “Illuminating Ideas: ENERGY & Sustainability Summit,” the economic development event was held at the Oakland Marriott. It was organized by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and primarily sponsored by Chevron. PG&E, Bank of America, and Merrill Lynch were also sponsors. The event offered several panel discussions on green infrastructure, energy smart cities, and private and public partnerships. The keynote speaker was Jon Wellinghoff, the immediate past president of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was also a speaker at the event.
Paz y Miño had brought along numerous copies of a handout that mocked the Richmond Standard, an online “newspaper” that is operated by Chevron’s public relations firm and covers news in the city of Richmond where Chevron operates a large refinery. The publication has been criticized for being little more than a promotional newsletter for the multinational corporation, which has been widely criticized for a refinery explosion in 2012 that sent 15,000 people to the hospital complaining of respiratory problems. Chevron later pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor criminal charges and paid $2 million in fines related to the explosion.
In the Amazon Watch version of the newspaper were stories that mocked Chevron. Under a sub banner that reads “What Oakland’s Chamber of Commerce needs to know about the tactics of its “presenting sponsor,” was a story with the headline “Chevron creates its own news outlet for a poor city that it pollutes.”
Only one woman had noticed the flyers and asked Paz y Miño for one, which he gave her. But about twenty minutes after he arrived, several security guards came up to him and asked him to leave. According to
Paz y Miño, the guards said that “Amazon Watch was not welcomed at the event.” When Paz y Miño refused to leave, three security guards physically escorted him from the building.
Paz y Miño said he was convinced Chevron was behind his ejection and was not surprised by the action. “Chevron has been out to crush free speech in relation to its policies for years and now apparently opposing views are not even allowed in the room,” Paz y Miño said. “It’s outrageous. They want to crush any kind of open discussion or debate about their actions here or anywhere in the world.”
Dan Quigley, the director of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce issued a written statement about the incident claiming that Paz y Miño was forced to leave as a preemptive action. “We’re sorry to have asked a paying attendee to leave, and have reimbursed the cost of his ticket,” the statement read. “Previous actions by Amazon Watch in other venues and their social media messaging in advance of our conference raised out concern that this attendee (an employee of Amazon Watch) intended to be disruptive.”
Paz y Miño scoffed at the idea that he had any intention of being disruptive. “There was absolutely nothing that I did, or was there anything in our social media, that suggested Amazon Watch intended to be disruptive,” Paz y Miño said, adding that he has yet to receive reimbursement for his ticket.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The unnecessary truth: reflections on what wasn’t told in the Chevron Ecuador RICO case

The following article is by EarthRights International (ERI) staff attorney Marissa Vahlsing, cross-posted from ERI's blog where it was originally posted April 15, 2014.  

Last November, Marissa took a leave of absence from ERI to volunteer on the Chevron v. Donziger trial in support of the Ecuadorian defendants.  These are her thoughts from the case. 

Lago Agrio, Ecuador: It is a Sunday afternoon in the Sucumbíos province in Northeastern Ecuador. Donald Moncayo navigates his way across a series of floating logs at the Aguarico 4 pit. He stops and dips his hand into a thick black pool and holds it up for us to see: black crude left by Texaco’s operations. 

Each year, several dozen delegations of people come down to the Oriente region of Ecuador to participate in one of Donald’s “toxic tours.” Learning about the history of contamination from Donald is how they bear witness to one of the greatest environmental justice battles of the past century.  

I first met Donald under very different circumstances – when he traveled to New York last November to serve as a witness in the now infamous trial for the retaliatory lawsuit that Chevron brought against dozens of Ecuadorian “afectados” (affected peoples), their lawyers, and supporting scientists in an effort to collaterally attack a judgment issued against it by an Ecuadorian court for decades of deliberate contamination in the Oriente

At the time, I had taken a leave of absence from ERI to serve as a volunteer on the trial team in support of the Ecuadorian defendants – the Lago Agrio plaintiffs (the LAPs). ERI has supported justice for the LAPs at various stages, but ERI was not directly involved in the trial, and my work there was independent of my work for ERI. For several months, I worked alongside an amazing team of young volunteer human rights lawyers, a handful of plaintiff-side trial lawyers, their family members and children who volunteered as paralegals, and law student externs. But the most meaningful work I did was alongside witnesses like Donald, who had traveled from Ecuador to tell their story. 

Donald had never left Ecuador before; but he decided to come to New York and testify – to tell a courtroom full of Chevron lawyers and a federal judge about the legacy of contamination that he saw, smelled, and lived every day in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Donald came to New York thinking that he might speak truth to power. But when he arrived in New York, he learned that his truth had had little place.   

Donald had never left Ecuador before; but he decided to come to New York to speak truth to power. When he arrived, he learned that his truth had had little place.  

In Kafka’s, The Trial, there is a line that reads:   
“No,” said the priest, “you don't need to accept everything as true, you only have to accept it as necessary.” “Depressing view,” said K. “The lie made into the rule of the world.” 
What is necessary then - necessary for the powerful to retain power, necessary for those who run the global economy to remain in control – becomes the rule of world. Other truths, like Donald’s, become unnecessary. 

At issue in the trial in New York was the validity of a judgment decided by Ecuadorian courts about facts in Ecuador under Ecuadorian law. Chevron had spent the better part of a decade arguing that the facts of the case should be heard in Ecuador, and that the courts there were competent to consider the case. That is, until Chevron lost. Badly. And then Chevron came back to New York, seeking to avoid paying the hefty judgment issued against it in Ecuador. And insisted that, when considering whether or not the Ecuadorian judgment was valid, the judge should not consider any evidence whatsoever of the existence of contamination. The judge agreed.

During the trial, witnesses like Donald were told that they could not speak about the contamination of their lands and water that Chevron’s predecessor, Texaco, had deliberately caused. The attorneys were not allowed to use the word “contamination” without approaching the bench, even in a case involving one of the largest environmental justice disputes in recent history. 

As lawyers, we learn about basic rules of legal procedure designed specifically to prohibit the type of behavior that Chevron exhibited in this case. Concepts such as “comity,” “judicial and equitable estoppel,” “forum non conveniens,” “freedom of speech,” and “prohibitions upon paying fact-witnesses.” These concepts operate to prevent a party from adopting completely opposite positions on an issue for purely strategic reasons. They operate to ensure that courts in the United States respect the sovereign decisions of foreign judiciaries. They protect the right of individuals and activists to demand justice when they are wronged. They prevent parties from purchasing fact witness testimony in order to ensure that testimony is not influenced by money.

Each of these fundamental principles was flipped on its head in deference to Chevron. The company was allowed to first argue that the case should be heard in Ecuador and then change its tune when it turns out it played its hand wrong. Rather than respecting the foreign judgment, the court subjected the Ecuadorian judge to a cross-examination “pop-quiz” about his 188-page, single-spaced ruling – all done through translation where much was lost and little more was understood. 

Rather than protecting freedom of expression, we watched as Chevron was allowed to turn good-faith advocacy campaigns and litigation into “conspiracy” or “extortion” under a law that was intended to be used by the government to prosecute mobsters. The court condoned the expense of millions of dollars to issue wide-reaching third-party subpoenas against activists, lawyers, journalists and artists who did nothing more than speak out against what Chevron’s predecessor did in Ecuador. The court was even willing to tolerate Chevron’s practice of hiring private corporate espionage firms to spy on us and on activists and affected peoples. 

And rather than considering whether testimony was improperly purchased from a fact-witness, the court credited Chevron’s star witness, a man who has admitted to both giving and receiving bribes in legal cases and who Chevron will pay upwards of $300,000 by 2015 in exchange for his testimony in the case

As a young attorney who has decided to dedicate my career to advocating on behalf of communities like those harmed by Chevron, this new upside-down world – where the necessary becomes true, where power decides truth – is a terrifying prospect. 

There is much that I could say about what it was like to be a part of that trial – from the small things: the everyday discrepancies between the size of Chevron’s army of lawyers versus our small team of attorneys and volunteers; or how Chevron waited until the eve of trial to drop its claims for monetary damages and thus deprived us of our right to insist upon a jury trial, after we had spent months preparing for a jury trial; or how, without a jury present, the court gave the large, comfortable jury room to the Chevron lawyers while we were left with two small rooms only large enough for three people to stand at once; to the overwhelmingly large things like the weak legal basis upon which Chevron has proceeded – without (in my opinion) any showing of such basic legal requirements as causation, injury, standing, or the ability to seek injunctive relief under a statute that many courts agree only provides for damages in civil actions. 

But when Judge Kaplan’s March 4, 2014 decision in the case came down, I could think only of Donald. 

When Donald arrived in New York, he was told that he could not speak his truth about the massive contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon – that is was not necessary. Instead, with the Court’s approval, Chevron counsel served Donald with a subpoena while he was on the witness stand in open court requesting a mirror image copy of his hard drive and then told he would go to jail if he didn’t hand over what Chevron was seeking. This was so even though the discovery period had ended months before; even though the deadline for serving subpoenas had ended nearly one year before; and even though Donald Moncayo had no lawyer and spoke no English. Donald’s courage to speak the truth became just one more casualty in this upside-down world.

That night our team stayed awake well into the morning hours – trying to find Donald a lawyer. The next day, I watched as Donald got into a black car with his new lawyer, a Chevron lawyer, and a digital forensic technician hired by Chevron. Donald was gone for nearly ten hours, and when he came back, he was in tears. We sat down to write a declaration together to be read in open court the next day – to express the humiliation, invasion of privacy and loss of dignity that Donald had felt. When we tried to read the declaration in open court, we were told that Chevron would seek a bench warrant which could put Donald in jail. 

Some weeks ago I was down in Lago Agrio with Donald, walking out upon the pits and wells left by Texaco (now Chevron) after their nearly 30 years of operations in the Oriente region. I watched as Donald showed me how pits that were supposedly “remediated” still contain thick dried black crude within a few feet of the soil. “It’s a lie,” he says as he runs the dirt through water and the water takes on the thick black sheen of crude. But a necessary lie.    During the trial, Chevron could never really deny the truth: that the contamination in the Oriente is real. This was so regardless of whether there was any merit to their RICO allegations. 

One night I stayed up until 3am helping to put together a pile of evidence – Chevron’s own experts’ samples of the illegal presence of heavy metals that were submitted to the court in Lago Agrio. But when we went to introduce those samples at trial the following day during the cross-examination of Chevron’s lead scientist, Sara McMillen, the judge stopped us. The evidence never made its way in. Donald’s truth was never told. 

In our own way, we each bear witness even when we act as attorneys. We watch the law decide histories, decide futures. We watch the power that the law wields and the manifold ways in which power wields the law. And a trial, an American trial – at bottom – is about story telling. But there were stories that were never told during that trial. As I sit down now to read through Judge Kaplan’s 497-page decision, it is as though our side wasn’t even in the room – or that we didn’t need to be. The story that Donald tells to any traveler willing to go out to the Oriente region of Ecuador never had its day in that New York courtroom.  

During the closing arguments of the trial, the lawyer for the LAPs, Julio Gomez, began his comments by saying:  “La sabiduria nos llega cuando ya no sirve para nada.” Julio then went on to say “Perhaps not a lot of people in this Court understood what I just said.  And perhaps those who didn't understand what I have just said now have, for one brief moment, a sense of what my clients felt like to participate in this. Translated into English, what I have just said means, wisdom comes to us when it is no longer useful.  Those are the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, not mine. And he means to say, I think, wisdom often comes too late.” 

In this case, wisdom might have come too late for many of us – for those activists and lawyers who never envisioned a day when fundamental First Amendment activity becomes the basis for invasive subpoenas or worse – a RICO case; for Chevron who thought it could win in Ecuador, and then came running home when it didn’t.  

The "War Room" (Steven Donziger is third from the left)   

Because, as Rick Friedman, trial attorney for Steven Donziger – the New York lawyer who assisted the Ecuadorians in their legal struggle and has since been named a defendant by Chevron - told the Court in his closing arguments:  
This case is bigger than just Mr. Donziger or even the 30,000 people in Ecuador who may be affected by the Court’s ruling.…The legal compass that the Court has, the principles that it has to guide itself through these facts are important beyond this case.  Your decision will be read by people around the world, and they will be looking for something more than whether somebody ghostwrote an expert report, or even whether somebody bribed a judge in Ecuador.  They will also be looking to see if American courts will follow their own rules of law. They will also be looking to see whether there is going to be special exceptions, special rules for large American corporations.
Thousands of miles away, courts on several continents are being asked to decide what happened in the Oriente and who is to blame. They are being asked to draw lines between advocacy and extortion, between asserting rights and participating in a conspiracy. As Judge Kaplan's opinion faces scrutiny in a court of appeals and other courts consider Chevron's tactics and responsibility, I hope that wisdom will not come too late.