The Corner

Chevron Case Update: Oh Canada

Canada’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a 17-billion-dollar lawsuit, filed by Ecuadorean litigants claiming oil giant Chevron (via its predecessor, Texaco) caused severe environmental damage by allegedly poor remediation of drilling sites, may be heard in Ontario. Per the New York Times’ report:

In Canada, the Ecuadoreans are fighting to seize the assets of Chevron’s subsidiary. Chevron countered that the Ecuadoreans should not be allowed to collect their debt in Canada because they have no direct link to the country. The Canadian court sided with the Ecuadoreans, saying the local courts were obliged to respect the decisions of foreign counterparts.

“Canadian courts, like many others, have adopted a generous and liberal approach to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments,” the Supreme Court ruled. “To recognize and enforce such a judgment, the only prerequisite is that the foreign court had a real and substantial connection with the litigants or with the subject matter of the dispute.”

Alan Lenczer, the lead Canadian lawyer for the Ecuadorean farmers, said the decision “clears the way” to a trial over the claim.

“You’ve got to be able to collect somewhere and that’s what the court is saying.” He added, however, that “we still have a road ahead of us.”

Yours truly has written on numerous occasions about this tawdry leftist shakedown instigated by discredited New York trial lawyer Steven Donziger – catalogued by Paul Barrett in his acclaimed book, Law of the Jungle, (read the review by Kevin Williamson, who has written extensively on this case’s bogusness). Still, one has to admit the obvious: the Rasputin-like scammers and the henchmen who run Ecuador get another day in court.

But that is just that, a day in court. The Canadian court’s ruling was explicitly about the jurisdiction, not the merits of the charges against Chevron (a National Review advertiser):

The establishment of jurisdiction does not mean that the plaintiffs will necessarily succeed in having the Ecuadorian judgment recognized and enforced. A finding of jurisdiction does nothing more than afford the plaintiffs the opportunity to seek recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment. Once past the jurisdictional stage, Chevron and Chevron Canada can use the available procedural tools to try to dispose of the plaintiffs’ allegations.

So, perspective being in order, there are some things worth remembering about this case:

‐A U.S. federal judge ruled that the case against Chevron was the result of fraud, corruption, and racketeering;

‐The many hits the leftist trial lawyers and their Ecuadoran enablers have taken in recent years has led to the desertion to numerous funders (poor. poor Patton Boggs!), experts, and co-counsels;

‐The only place the plaintiffs have been able to succeed in this shakedown has been in Ecuador’s rigged court system;

Oh yeah, and this:

‐The Canadian ruling came a day after another former Donziger ally — California-based “e-discovery and litigation-services firm” H5 — turned against him and settled with Chevron (HotAir reports).

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