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Southern District of New York Dismisses Lago Agrio Plaintiffs’ Key Defense in Chevron Ecuador Case

Today, the U.S. District Court in New York rejected the Ecuador plaintiffs’ attempt to avoid a ruling on the validity of their fraudulent judgment and made important factual findings about the plaintiffs’ fraud and misconduct. In a 97-page opinion, Judge Kaplan rejected the effort of the Ecuadoran plaintiffs and their lawyers to abruptly drop some of their arguments in Chevron’s RICO case in order to avoid a ruling against them, calling this tactic an “unworthy pretense.”  The court examined the record and issued findings that plaintiffs’ lawyers engaged in activities that “tainted” the Ecuadoran trial, further observing that “there are serious questions concerning the preparation of the judgment itself.”  Judge Kaplan denied Chevron’s motion for immediate summary judgment on whether the Ecuador judgment is enforceable under New York law, instead requiring further legal and factual submissions prior to a final ruling.  Chevron intends to press forward with the New York case until the perpetrators of the Ecuadorian judicial fraud are held accountable for their actions.

The court’s opinion can be found here.

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