Image: Chevron in Ecuador
Remember that $9 billion fine that was Chevron was slapped with last month for the 18 billion gallons of pollution in Ecuador that were never cleaned up? A judge in New York has granted Chevron the preliminary injunction it requested, ruling that plaintiffs in Ecuador cannot seek damages in the U.S. or essentially anywhere outside Ecuador.Environment New Service explains how Chevron got here:
On February 1, Chevron sued the Ecuadorian plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in New York, accusing them of fraud, interfering with contracts, trespass, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy. Chevron levied even more serious charges against their main U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger, expert witnesses and affiliated organizations, accusing them of racketeering.
Greenwire explains what happens now:
The opinion (pdf) states that Kaplan's ruling is binding on various parties involved with the plaintiffs, including Steven Donziger, the American lawyer who has led the fight against Chevron since 1993. Donziger, the plaintiffs and other lawyers are now barred from "any action or proceeding, outside the Republic of Ecuador, for recognition or enforcement of the judgment previously rendered," Kaplan wrote.
The move was not unexpected, as Kaplan had already granted a temporary restraining order that had the same effect as the injunction while he considered Chevron's request.
The plaintiffs plan to appeal, however, saying Kaplan's ruling is unclear as to whether they can try to enforce the ruling outside the U.S. in any of the countries where Chevron has assets.
Stay tuned for what happens next.
More on Chevron and Ecuador
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New York Times Explores Ecuador's Battle Against Chevron
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The Yes Men Are At it Again: Chevron "Agrees" to Clean Up Its Mess