The Court of Appeal for Ontario decides against Chevron’s million dollar demand for security – a Chevron tactic to derail the plaintiffs’ litigation
Quito, 31st of October 2017.- The decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario gives Ecuadorians the opportunity to continue their legal action to enforce the judgement against Chevron Corporation without providing the security of C$1 million of security costs. The security demand would have halted the trial against Chevron in Canada because the peasants and indigenous peoples of Ecuador cannot afford to post such a bond.
Today’s decision is in response to the appeal launched by Alan Lenczner, the Canadian lawyer representing the peasants and indigenous peoples of UDAPT (the Union of people affected by Texaco, now Chevron). These plaintiffs obtained a judgement of US$9.5 billion which they now seek to enforce in Canada, Argentina and Brasil. It was impossible to enforce the court’s decision in Ecuador because the company removed all its assets and goods to avoid payment of the judgment by the Ecuadorian court.
The decision of the Ontario judges recognizes the plaintiffs’ argument that they do not have a direct economic interest in the litigation, but rather this is litigation in the public interest. They also declared that the motion of Chevron can be considered a tactic to shut down the Ecuadorians’ litigation in Canada.
Willian Lucitante, Coordinator of UDAPT, voiced his satisfaction with the decision of the Court which represents a bitter failure for the oil company which tried to deny access to justice for the affected people of Ecuador. They are the victims of the destructive practices of Chevron which have now impacted the lives of more than 30,000 residents of the affected sites.
The leader of the affected communities declared that this is a new victory for the global justice of peoples whose rights have been violated by transnational corporations. “With their motion for security for costs, Chevron tried to stop this process before the courts in Toronto because the company fears failure. Chevron did not succeed in halting the proceedings because we asked our lawyer Alan Lenczner to appeal this decision that required security funds. “We were successful today” declared Lucitante who is also the leader of the indigenous nation A`I Kofan,
Moreover, Willian Lucitante reiterated in the name of the Ecuadorian plaintiffs, his trust in the judicial system of Canada and called upon the judges to accelerate their work, hoping they will not fall in the “Chevron trap” which has abused judicial resources and caused delays in the judicial proceedings. The 3rd of November of this year will mark 24 years of this litigation. During all these years, the people have suffered and still suffer the impacts of the contamination reflected in a high rate of death due to cancer and other diseases related to chemicals that remained in the areas of the oil exploitation, in high poverty rates due to the restrictions for agriculture in these lands, the reduced hunting and fishing, among other factors caused by the irresponsible actions of the oil company in this region.
“As long as the company delays justice, we continue to die”, said Lucitante. He, again, charged that Chevron continues to hide behind the corporate veil and its subsidiaries to evade its responsibility. Now UDAPT has joined hundreds of organizations to fight for a Binding Treaty by the UN-Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights where the Chevron case has become a high profile example of corporate impunity.