Over the past few years, I’ve written numerous articles over at the International Business Law Advisor on the long-running Ecuador v. Chevron litigation.
I’ve been very vocal about the reckless manner in which Chevron has managed this litigation.
And I’m far from alone on the issue.
Several months ago, over 38% of shareholders, representing a massive $73 billion worth of Chevron stock, issued a stunning reprimand Chevron’s CEO John Watson due in part to his mismanagement of the lawsuit in Ecuador for despoiling the Amazon rainforest.
While an Appellate Court earlier this year affirmed the entry of the $18 Billion judgment against Chevron, the case has taken on a life of its own in a parallel international arbitration proceeding at the Hague.
As I reported in the post, Chevron Files International Arbitration Claim Against Ecuador: Forum Shopping in the Hague?, Chevron filed an international arbitration claim before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague under the Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
The claim is based on Ecuador’s alleged violation of investment agreements, international law, and its treaty with the United States–the Encouragement and Protection of Investments Treaty.
Chevron’s claims relate to the Amazon oil lawsuit I wrote about in an earlier post. In the arbitration filed in the Hague, Chevron alleges that Ecuador’s judicial process is broken and that the South American nation cannot fairly adjudicate the long-running oil pollution litigation.
Through the filing, Chevron seeks to enforce prior settlement and release agreements that the government of Ecuador entered into with Texaco Petroleum when the consortium was terminated, and to hold Ecuador accountable for its obligations under Ecuadorian law and existing international treaties.
Case Will Continue Into 2014.
I mention all this because Braden Reddall of Reuters recently reported in this article that the Hague recently has set a timeline that runs into 2014,Chevron said the international tribunal will hear by late November about the scope of a 1998 settlement and release agreement given by Ecuador’s government to Texaco, the company that operated in Ecuador.
Ecuador’s attorney general has argued the tribunal has no jurisdiction because the bilateral trade agreement between the United States and his country went into effect five years after Texaco ended operations in Ecuador in 1992.
However, earlier this year, the three-person panel reinforced its interim order that Ecuador suspend court-awarded payments of claims against Texaco, which was accused of polluting the rain forest and sickening people there. Some of those residents sued the company.
In the interim, because Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, the Ecuadorean plaintiffs have launched legal actions in Canada and Brazil to enforce their $19 billion award.