October 29, 2010
Facing $113 Billion in Potential Damages, Chevron Lawyers Seek Any Opportunity to Delay
LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A trial court has sanctioned and fined three Chevron lawyers for obstructing the trial where Chevron faces a multi-billion dollar judgment for the deliberate dumping of 18 billion gallons of toxic waste, according to court papers made available today.
“The evidence clearly shows Chevron used illegal practices that resulted in the massive destruction of the rainforest in Ecuador and the decimation of indigenous groups and other local residents”
Alberto Racines and Diego Larrea, both of whom have worked on Chevron’s legal team in Ecuador since the trial against Chevron began in 2003, were fined by Judge Nicolas Zambrano this week for repeatedly filing the same motions in an effort to delay the seven-year Ecuador trial.
The judge ruled that the lawyers had used Chevron’s motions “to obstruct the trial.” In 2009, a third Chevron lawyer – Patricio Campuzano – was sanctioned for the same reason.
On August 5 – one day after the court ordered both parties to submit their own damages assessments – Chevron filed 19 motions to nullify the order or the trial itself in a 30-minute period. Racines and Larrea then cited the failure of the trial judge to quickly rule on each of the motions as a basis to recuse him.
“The evidence clearly shows Chevron used illegal practices that resulted in the massive destruction of the rainforest in Ecuador and the decimation of indigenous groups and other local residents,” said Pablo Fajardo, who represents dozens of indigenous and farmer communities suing the oil giant for dumping more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest.
“To help Chevron evade its obligations, Chevron’s lawyers are trying to sabotage the Ecuadorian legal system in addition to violating their professional obligations,” he added.
Chevron, which operated several oil fields in Ecuador from 1964 to 1990, faces damages and clean-up costs estimated at up to $113 billion. The amount includes compensation for an estimated 10,000 potential deaths from cancer in the coming decades, according to reports submitted by a team of prominent American technical experts.
Full Article Here – http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101029005858/en/Amazon-Defense-Coalition-Chevron-Lawyers-Sanctioned-Obstructing