Here’s How Chevron Is Arguing Against a $19B Bill
In a 2003 class-action lawsuit filed in an Ecuadorian court accusing Texaco, now owned by Chevron (NYSE:CVX), of polluting the environment surrounding its Lago Agrio oil field from 1964 to 1992, judgement was only the end of one chapter in the case’s convoluted history.
In 2011, 10 years after Chevron purchased Texaco, New York lawyer Steven Donziger engineered a $19 billion pollution verdict against the U.S. oil company. At the time, the ruling was the culmination of 18 years of litigation that took place in both the U.S. and Ecuador, and the verdict was the biggest of its kind.
Even before Chevron launched a lawsuit of its own that same year, accusations of fraud were made by both sides, with the oil company banking on its claims to discredit the lawyer and hinder his ability to enforce the verdict. The accusations of fraud became official when the 2011 suit against Donziger and his Ecuadorian clients was filed under the federal anti-racketeering statute.
In a trial beginning this week, Chevron’s lawyers will argue that a group of Ecuadorian villagers and Donziger used bribes and intimidation in securing the judgement.