Donald K. Anton, “Public International Law and International Civil Litigation: From Ecuador to the United States and Back (Twice) – Chevron v. Donzige”

Donald K. Anton (Australian National University (ANU) – College of Law) has posted “Public International Law and International Civil Litigation: From Ecuador to the United States and Back (Twice) – Chevron v. Donzige”, Precedent, forthcoming. Here is the abstract:

This brief note examines the public international law issues arising in the widely publicized case of Chevron v. Donziger. In 1993, Amazonian indigenous communities and remote farmers sued Texaco in the United States, its home jurisdiction, seeking redress for damages caused by Texaco’s operations. From 1993 to 2002 Texaco, and later Chevron when it acquired Texaco, fought to have the case dismissed and moved to Ecuador as the more appropriate forum to try the case. Ultimately, the US action was dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds. However, the dismissal was conditioned on promises by Chevron to accept jurisdiction in Ecuador and satisfy any judgment rendered by an Ecuadorian court. While the action in the US was ongoing, Chevron apparently removed its assets from Ecuador, ensuring that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs would be unable to enforce and collect any judgment in that country. The case was re-filed and tried in Ecuador and was hotly contested for approximately eight years. On 14 February 2011, the Provincial Court of Sucumbios awarded the Ecuadorian plaintiffs $8.6 billion in damages, with $5.6 billion going toward environmental remediation. Anticipating the worst, Chevron took pre-emptive action back in the US, and filed a complaint against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers alleging fraud and conspiracy and seeking injunction enjoining the enforcement of the judgment. On 7 March 2011, the US Federal District Court in the Southern District of New York granted the preliminary injunction, which purported to enjoin the Ecuadorians from seeking to have the Ecuadorian judgment recognised or enforced anywhere in the world outside of Ecuador.

A copy of the article may be downloaded at SSRN here.

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