The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has stayed ( see opinion here ) an action initiated by a group of Ecuadorian plaintiffs seeking to have a judgment of an Ecuadorian court against Chevron Corp. recognized and enforced in Ontario. In doing so, the court stated:
” the plaintiffs have no hope of success in their assertion that the corporate veil of Chevron Canada should be pierced and ignored so that its assets become exigible to satisfy a judgment against its ultimate parent. There is no basis in law or fact for such a claim.… Ontario courts should be reluctant to dedicate their resources to disputes where, in dollar and cents terms, there is nothing to fight over. In my view, the parties should take their fight elsewhere to some jurisdiction where any ultimate recognition of the Ecuadorean judgment will have a practical effect.”
In response, Chevron Corporation issued the following statement:
“We are pleased with today’s decision from Justice Brown. The Ontario Superior Court ruled that it ought not to entertain the plaintiffs’ claims on the evidence before the court. This is a significant setback to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ worldwide enforcement strategy given that it is premised on seeking to enforce the judgment against assets of Chevron Corporation subsidiaries that were not even parties to the Ecuadorian litigation.”
“The plaintiffs should be seeking enforcement in the United States – where Chevron Corporation resides. In the U.S., however, they would be confronted by the fact that eight federal courts have already found the Ecuador trial tainted by fraud.”
Meanwhile, Chevron Corp. has made additional notable progress in the legal proceedings in the United States exposing the fraudulent nature of the plaintiffs’ judgment. This evidence further demonstrates that the judgment is illegitimate and should be unenforceable in any court that respects the rule of law. Evidence of the plaintiffs’ fraud includes:
- A former Ecuadorian judge has admitted his role in orchestrating the fraudulent judgment against Chevron and a half-million-dollar bribery scheme.
- Stratus Consulting, the lead environmental consultants to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ lawyers, provided sworn declarations (here and here), highlighting the lack of scientific merit to the plaintiffs’ damage claims.
- Another of the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ environmental consultants, Dr. Charles Calmbacher, has testified that plaintiffs’ evidence was being falsified from the very outset of the trial.
- Litigation hedge fund Burford Capital has provided a sworn declaration outlining the firm’s knowledge of the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ misconduct, testifying that the proceeding is irredeemably tainted by fraud.
Chevron Corp. remains committed to holding the plaintiffs’ lawyers accountable for their misconduct and demonstrating the judgment is the product of a corrupted judiciary.