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Anti-Chevron suit reaches new stage in Ecuador, still ridiculous

The (fact-gathering, non-jury) trial stage of the civil suit against Chevron in Ecuador has ended, Judge Leonardo Ordonez, president of the provincial court of Provincial Court of Sucumbíos in Lago Agrio, informed the parties in a letter last week.

The judge's announcement follows the final submission of "expert" reports to the court, including one from various supporters of the shakedown litigation that now claims as much as $113 billion in damages -- up from the mere $27.4 billion tallied in the report from the now-discredited special master. Judging by the news release from the PR outfit that represents the U.S. trial lawyers , the sum is necessary to remove all trace of civilization from the Amazonian oil patch. (Kohn, Swift & Graf is funding the litigation, Steven Donziger is orchestrating it.)

Chevron also made submissions to the court as reported in its news release, "Chevron Statement on Ecuador Court Filings":

SAN RAMON, Calif., Sep 17, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Yesterday, Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) submitted expert testimony from leading scientists to the Provincial Court of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador demonstrating that there is no evidentiary basis for the lawsuit against the company. Chevron also has renewed its motion for dismissal of the case because there is no evidence of liability and because there is overwhelming proof of fraud on the part of the plaintiffs' lawyers.

The news release provides a "greatest hits" account of the plaintiff team's conniving and falsehoods, devastating revelations made public through Chevron's use of 1782 motions to obtain testimony from witnesses involved in the Ecuadorian activities, including damning outtakes from the documentary, "Crude." A highly recommended summary.

The revelations had done so much damage to the U.S. trial lawyers' legal strategy that the team fell silent for a few weeks and then returned to the PR front with a flurry of furious news releases. It's an informative, if dispiriting, exercise to review the week's worth of hyperbole and accusations from Karen Hinton, Hinton Communications and the Amazon Defense Coalition.

UPDATE (4 p.m.): This AmLaw Daily report, "Back for More in Ecuador," has more detail on other recent developments in the litigation.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.