An Ecuadorian court has ordered Chevron to pay $19 Billion for years of intentional toxic dumping by its Texaco affiliate. According to reports, Texaco conducted its operations without regard for even the most minimal pollution controls, dumping toxins directly into the water supply. The resulting pollution covered an area the size of Rhode Island and caused cancers, stillbirths, birth defects and disease to uncountable humans living in the area. See the video here. But this is only a part of the story.
The lawsuit began in the US in 1993. For a decade, Chevron fought the US courts claiming that the suit belonged in Ecuador. After Chevron agreed to submit to jurisdiction in Ecuador and to be bound by any judgment there, the US court relented. The trial that resulted in the judgment took 8 years. Now, Chevron refuses to pay claiming that the process was tainted by corruption. In the meantime, Chevron has removed most of its assets from Ecuador causing plaintiffs to chase Chevron's assets in other nations. But this is still only part of the story.
Chevron has been using legal process to subpoena the content of the private e-mail accounts and IP addresses of bloggers, activists and reporters who have reported negatively on Chevron's conduct. The report here at Counterspin (advance the audio to the 18:00 mark of the show) is a shocking tale of corporate arrogance and abuse of the legal system to harass and terrorize those who dare speak their minds. This intentional manipulation of the legal system is in form and intent more despicable than a SLAPP suit in that the target is not even named as a party, but rather receives notice only from his or her internet provider. Then under short deadlines, must scramble to take defensive legal action.
On the merits of the case, each side has its own story to tell ( see videos below). But on the intentional abuse of process and assault on the privacy of private persons, Chevron has no legal or moral defense.
For those at Chevron who have the job of monitoring blog posts, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that everyone who reads this takes a moment to tweet about it or write it in their own blogs or in comments on others - so that Chevron can wear itself out chasing everyone's e-mail addresses.
Chevron's story on the underlying claim:
The other story: