US judge halts damages claim over pollution in Amazon
Wednesday 09 March 2011
An American judge has extended his temporary ban on the collection of $18bn (£11.1bn) in damages from Chevron, saying the US oil giant would be irreparably harmed if it had to pay compensation – ordered by a court in Ecuador – for pollution in parts of the Amazon rainforest.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan said there was evidence that lawyers for 30,000 Ecuadorean plaintiffs would move swiftly to pursue multiple enforcement actions and asset seizures around the globe, including in areas where Chevron would not be immediately able to challenge the lawsuits. He said his decision was justified because without it Chevron would be at significant risk of "missing critical deliveries".
The ruling came after Chevron sued lawyers and others involved in the Ecuadorean litigation, saying they violated racketeering laws by manipulating an Ecuadorean judge, Nicolas Zambrano, into issuing an unfair judgment against the American company last month.
But Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadoreans, said Judge Kaplan's failure to consider key evidence or schedule a hearing to learn more facts was a "trampling of due process" and "an inappropriate exercise of judicial power".
The legal wrangle has been going on for almost two decades. The US oil firm Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, stands accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into unlined pits and Amazon rivers between 1972 and 1992.
Campaigners allege that crops were damaged, farm animals died and local cancer rates increased. But Chevron claims that Texaco spent $40m cleaning up the area in the 1990s and signed an agreement with Ecuador in 1998 absolving it of any further responsibility.
Global warming ‘will make our winters colder’
Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The sparrow that survived Mao's purge
A good year for nature in Britain, despite the cold: After frostiest March for 50 years, summer gave rise to an explosion in wildlife
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...