THE CASE

On November 3, 1993, 75 people, including settler-farmers and indigenous people of the Cofan, Secoya and Kichwa nationalities from the Orellana and Sucumbios provinces, filed a class-action lawsuit against the oil company Texaco in the Southern District Court of New York. They accused the company of polluting the environment and affecting public health due to the use of cheap and outdated technology during its oil exploitation activities in the Ecuadorian Amazon (1964-1990). Organizations of farmers, women, human rights advocates, young people, neighborhoods and other unions decided to support the lawsuit and called for more social organizations in the region to form a coalition to support and sustain the developing case.
After various meetings between settler communities, indigenous nationalities, federations of social and farmer organizations, and non-governmental organizations, the Amazon Defense Front was formed on May 16, 1994.

In an effort to evade liability, Texaco signed with the Ecuadorian State an “environmental reparation” contract, implemented in 1996. The “environmental” work carried out by Texaco was questioned by the plaintiffs and later by the Comptroller General of the State (Ecuador Control Agency, which has an obligation to ensure compliance with contracts that any entity signs with the Ecuadorian State).

Under pressure from the oil company, on August 16, 2002 the Court of Appeals in New York decided to send the case to Ecuador. The plaintiffs unanimously decided to continue with legal action and on May 7, 2003 the lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Nueva Loja, Ecuador. On October 21 of that year, thousands of affected people mobilized to the city of Nueva Loja to participate in the hearing that initiated this historic trial; this is the only case in the world where people directly affected by a transnational oil company have been able to execute justice in their own country. Since then, the communities have been in constant action to monitor the judicial process and to make important decisions related to the case.

SENTENCES EN ECUADOR

On February 14th, 2011,18 years after the affected people began their legal fight, the president of the Single Chamber of the Provincial Justice Court of Sucumbíos issued the sentence at first instance. The judge declared the oil company Chevron, formerly Texaco, liable for the environmental damage in the northern zone of the Ecuadorian Amazon and therefore condemned the company to pay $9.5 billion and set punitive damages. The verdict also included the measure that the oil company publicly apologize to the affected Ecuadorians in 15 days; otherwise, the penalty would duplicate.

Read the sentence
 

On January 3, 2012, the Single Chamber of the Provincial Justice Court of Sucumbíos reviewed the first sentence of the case Aguinda v. Chevron following the appeal filed by the oil company Chevron, formerly Texaco. On that date, the magistrates of the chamber ratified the $9.5 billion fine and maintained the punitive damages, that is to say, the sanction of a doubled fine should the company not publicly apologize to the victims for the environmental damage it caused during its operations in the Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces.

Read the sentence

 

The Civil and Mercantile Chamber of the National Justice Court of Ecuador, November 12, 2013, issued its ruling regarding the cassation procedure filed by Chevron, formerly Texaco. In this instance, the magistrates of the chamber ratified the damage caused by the company in the provinces of Orellana and Sucumbiós in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon. The Court ordered the oil company to pay more than 9.5 billion dollars, nevertheless, it withdrew the punitive sanction; that is to say, Chevron no longer needed to publicly apologize to the victims nor pay double the fine for refusing to do so. The ruling affirmed Chevron´s liability for the environmental damage.

Since this ruling was issued by Ecuador´s highest court, it represents the nation´s final verdict.

Read the sentence

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador didn’t make publish its decision on July 10, 2018. This action was aimed to avoidi the payment of the sentence imposed by the Courts of Justice of Ecuador, and thus hide the legal responsibility for the reparation of the contaminated areas.

With this resolution, all available resources in Ecuador are completed within this judicial process.

SENTENCIA CORTE CONSTITUCIONAL

In the judicial process, the plaintiffs were concerned to prove, as required by law, all the accusations against the oil company. Much of the evidence that rests in the trial was produced and paid for by the same defendant company. In the record or file, more than 230,000 pages of information were accumulated, more than 40 testimonies were received from people affected by Texaco’s operations, 106 expert reports were incorporated, 60 of which were fully paid by Chevron; more than 80,000 chemical results were produced from samples taken from soil, water or sediments; Several health studies prepared independently by foreign experts were delivered to the judges. The judge inspected and verified directly the damages caused in 54 sites operated by the oil company.

 

In conclusion, the existing scientific evidence is overwhelming, and it conclusively established the liability of the oil company with regard to environmental damages and social, cultural and economic impacts. On February 14, 2011, the President of the Provincial Court of Sucumbios, Judge Nicolás Zambrano, issued the first judgment against Chevron-Texaco. The verdict was in favor of the plaintiffs, and the oil company was sentenced to pay $9.5 billion for remediation of environmental damage, including cleaning soils, installing water systems and implementing health care for the area.

INTERNATIONAL SENTENCES

WORLDWIDE ACTIONS TO MAKE CHEVRON PAY

Chevron, anticipating that the Ecuadorian Court would rule against it for the amount and scientific evidence that demonstrates the contamination, withdrew all of its assets from Ecuador with the purpose of preventing those affected from charging them for the environmental damage committed in the Ecuadorian Amazon. & Nbsp; For that reason, the plaintiffs decided to execute the judgment in other countries where the oil company owns assets, taking into account that the Ecuadorian judgment of second instance issued by the Provincial Court of Sucumbíos, can be executed anywhere in the world.

Those affected resorted to the Cortes of Canada, Brazil and Argentina. In the first two countries actions are carried out for the homologation of the sentence, while in Argentina the Inter-American Convention on Compliance with Precautionary Measures was applied, which made it possible for the embargo to have been ruled out and the proceedings for the homologation of the sentence began. . These procedures are solely for the company to comply with the sentence imposed, to immediately begin repair work.

CASO RICO

Chevron, recognizing that the evidence that had been accumulated in Ecuador, was forceful against the Petroleum, did not have more than to return to the North American Justice where it initiated a series of processes, in order to des legitimize the justice and the case in Ecuador.

On February 1, 2011, under the RICO Act, he filed an action before Judge Lewins Kaplan of New York, accusing Chevron of being the victim of an extortion attempt in Ecuador. That there was an illicit association between lawyers, experts, and indigenous people to extort money from the company. Judge Kaplan, after an unfair trial in March 2014, issued a judgment favorable to Chevron. In which he ordered that the plaintiffs of Ecuador can not execute the judgment in the United States. He also ruled that for him the entire case in Ecuador was a fraud.

That ruling was appealed before the Second Circuit of New York. In the month of August 2016 the Second Circuit of New York, issued its sentence ratifying what had ordered the judge of first instance. The UDAPT, in recognizing the act of denial of justice in the United States for the victims of corporate crime, and since the American judicial system has done nothing more than protect its corporations, opted for the decision not to appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice. the United States. It is known that Mr. Steven Donziger, would have appealed on his own, but that is not an act of those affected in Ecuador.

 

Sentencia primera Istancia – marzo 2014

FALLO SEGUNDO CIRCUITO AGOSTO 2016

Brazil

Superior Court of Justice

In June 2012, the Plaintiffs grouped in the UDAPT filed an action for exequatur and homologation of the judgment before the Superior Court of Justice.

In November 2017, the Tribunal of Justice decided not to accept the claim of those affected, under the argument that the Brazilian justice has no jurisdiction, because the assets that exist in Brazil belong to Chevron Brasil, and not to Chevron Corporation.

Sentencia Superior Tribunal de Justicia

 

Argentina

Embargo Actions

On November 6, 2012, the judge of civilians of Buenos Aires, Adrián Elcuj Miranda, acceded to the request of Ecuadorian justice under the Inter-American Convention on Compliance with Precautionary Measures and thereby ordered the seizure of Chevron’s assets in Argentina for 19 billion dollars. This action was promoted by the lawyer of the victims in that country, Enrique Brochou.

the embargo weighed on shares, dividends and 40% of the crude sales of the Argentine subsidiary of the US oil company Chevron. The garnishment order reached 100 percent of Chevron’s shares in this country, as well as all the shares in oil fields and pipelines. On January 30, 2013, the Argentine Court of Appeals dismissed the oil company’s request to withdraw the ruling and ratified, without any modification, the embargo on Chevron’s assets, assets and investments in that country. This resolution, adopted unanimously by the three judges that make up the House, gives the reason to the plaintiffs and ratifies the legality of the judgment issued in the Ecuadorian courts. However, on May 22, the Attorney General of Argentina, Gils Carbó had argued that the subjects seized were “companies incorporated in the Argentine Republic and the Kingdom of Denmark”, which implies that they have “their own legal personality and distinct from that of its direct and indirect shareholders, as stipulated by national legislation. ”

On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the Supreme Court of Argentina annulled an embargo that weighed on Chevron’s assets. The Court, in its ruling, emphasized an argument; Chevron Argentina, which is a separate legal entity from Chevron Corp., did not participate in the trial in Ecuador and thereby withdrew the embargo in that country.

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Canada

Judgments on jurisdiction

On May 31, 2012, the Canadian lawyer Alan Lenczner, hired by those affected to take the case in that country, requested that the Canadian Court recognize the sentence of those affected.

 

On September 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ratified its jurisdiction and ruled that the plaintiffs of Ecuador have the right to seek recognition of the judgment in that country. & Nbsp; On August 20, 2016, the Canadian Court denied Chevron’s request, not to give way to the case, and after hearing the arguments of the parties decided to continue with the process in Toronto. In this & nbsp; The hearing was attended by members of the Union of the Affected by Texaco (Udapt), headed by Humberto Piaguaje, executive coordinator of the organization, and Carmen Zambrano, representative of the victims.

They also held important meetings with leaders of social and indigenous organizations, NGOs and representatives of the media.

Fallo primera istancia

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Fallo Corte Suprema de Canadá

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Canada was considered one of the 10 main markets for Chevron’s investment in 2012. During 2011, the company obtained 70,000 barrels per day of net oil equivalent, which places it as the country with the highest oil production capacity in the country. world in the period 2009 to 2010 and as the third country between 2010 and 2011. Chevron’s relationship with Canada is more than 70 years old, in which it has discovered and exploited crude oil and natural gas. It has also developed industries to refine and distribute them within that same country.

Chevron conducts its operations through the subsidiary: Chevron Corporation, which includes Chevron Canada Ltd., Chevron Canada Finance Limited (both wholly owned by the company) and Chevron Canada Resources of which it is a shareholder.

 
 

THE LAWYER OF THE AFFECTED

Pablo Fajardo

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THE LAWYER OF THE AFFECTED

In addition, the judge imposed a punitive sanction: Chevron had to publicly apologize to those affected within a period of 15 days after the judgment. Failure to do so would increase the penalty to twice the amount of the issued fine. As the judge abided by this provision and Chevron refused to give an apology, Chevron was fined more than 19 billion dollars, a sum meant for implementing a recovery plan, strengthening ancestral villages, cleaning roads where the company had dumped crude oil, and producing an economic plan for farmers whose land has been affected by pollution.
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