Chevron in Ecuador

The archive of the Clean Up Ecuador campaign website

Villagers Accuse U.S. Judge of Bias in $19 Billion Ecuador Lawsuit

Amazon Defense Coalition

Amazon Defense Coalition
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109

New York, NY – U.S. federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan is again denying due process and improperly acting as "the world's judicial police" to help Chevron try to block a $19 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, says a new analysis by representatives of the Ecuadorians.

Representatives of thousands of Amazon villagers in Ecuador who suffer from cancer and other health problems have accused Kaplan of trying to mount a "show trial" in New York based on Chevron's false claim that the 18-year litigation against the company was a sham, said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the villagers.

After an eight-year trial, an Ecuador court in 2011 convicted Chevron of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest when it operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992. The dumping decimated indigenous groups and caused an outbreak of cancer and other diseases, according to the Ecuador court, whose decision was affirmed unanimously on appeal.

To evade paying the Ecuador judgment, Chevron sued the villagers and their lawyers in New York on civil fraud charges that seek up $57 billon in damages. The case is before Kaplan, who already has been reversed once by a New York appellate court for trying to impose an illegal global injunction purporting to block international enforcement of the Ecuador judgment.

Kaplan has made pejorative comments about the Ecuadorians in the past, and he is continuing his biased ways, said Hinton.

"Judge Kaplan is desperately trying to protect Chevron from having to pay its $19 billion environmental liability in Ecuador," said the analysis, which was posted as a blog on The Chevron Pit. "Once again, Kaplan is trying to act as the world's judicial police from his Manhattan courtroom."

The analysis points out that Kaplan has made a series of judicial rulings in recent weeks that attempt to exclude evidence of Chevron's environmental crimes and misconduct in Ecuador as way to engineer a verdict in favor of the oil giant.

"But like any show trial, a peek under the covers reveals the intellectual dishonesty and zealotry behind a process clearly designed to help Chevron evade accountability for its sordid record of toxic dumping," said the blog.

Chevron is trying to use Kaplan's biased rulings to try to block seizure actions that target approximately $15 billion of the oil giant's assets in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, said the analysis.

The full analysis can be read here.