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Plaintiffs fabricate cancer claims in attempt to extort $9 billion from Chevron

Date: Aug 28, 2009

“They look at individual cases of cancer and say it can not be traced back to the oil that was spilled by Chevron,” he said. “It’s true that the exact correlation cannot be proved.” – Pablo Fajardo, lead trial lawyer. The (Eugene, OR) Register-Guard: 8/27/09

In a statement made during an August 26, 2009 speech, Ecuadorian attorney Pablo Fajardo once again admitted that the activists and trial lawyers involved in the lawsuit against Chevron cannot prove the cancer claims they have made against Chevron.

A number of individuals representing the plaintiffs have made similar statements. In a May 12, 2009 interview with Radio CRE, CRE Noticias, Luis Yanza, Legal Coordinator of Amazon Defense Coalition said, “But I should clarify one thing:  the cancer subject is relatively complementary because in the trial we don’t have to prove that anyone died of cancer…”

Similarly, in comments posted on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, Karen Hinton, U.S.-based spokesperson for the Amazon Defense Coalition said, “The lawsuit does not seek to prove health claims because of the associated costs; it has been expensive enough to prove the contamination itself.”

Neither the plaintiffs’ attorneys nor the court appointee, Richard Cabrera, have submitted any medical evidence that a single cancer case or death has occurred. Cabrera submitted only a summary of opinion survey results from which he extrapolated approximately $9.5 billion for alleged cancer deaths. Not only is his alleged cancer death rate more than 250 times higher than that reported by the Ecuadorian government for this region of the Amazon, he fails to name a single patient or provide any death certificates or medical records.

In 2006, Cristobal Bonifaz, the attorney that originally filed the lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador sued Chevron in a U.S. federal court for the Northern District of California alleging his new clients developed cancer as a result of Texaco’s operations. In 2007, after some of the plaintiffs admitted that they had never been diagnosed with cancer, the presiding federal judge dismissed the case, fined Bonifaz $45,000, sanctioned the lawyers, and ordered them to submit the ruling to their state bars.

If the plaintiffs are trying to extort over $9 billion for claims they admit they cannot prove–what else are they fabricating?