A federal court has granted Chevron its bifurcation motion and is expediting Chevron’s declaratory relief claim to trial in November. Chevron believes this is a critically important step in redressing the travesty of justice that has occurred in Ecuador:
Well before the Lago Agrio court entered its Feb. 14 against Chevron, the oil giant condemned the proceedings there as fraudulent. In a bid to discredit and invalidate the verdict, Chevron filed multiple lawsuits on three continents against the natives, their attorneys, their consultants and the government of Ecuador.
In Manhattan, where the bulk of the American litigation has occurred, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan issued an injunction blocking collection of the judgment. Chevron has since appealed the Ecuadorean verdict and received a green light to sue the government of Ecuador at The Hague.
Kaplan is also handling the federal racketeering lawsuit Chevron filed against Steven Donziger, the attorney who spearheaded the Ecuadorean lawsuit. Chevron says Donziger has tried to extort a multibillion dollar judgment so that he can collect a tidy sum in attorney’s fees.
A month after filing in Feb. 1, Chevron asked Kaplan to bifurcate, or hold a separate trial on, a claim that seeks a declaration that the Ecuadorean judgment is unenforceable.