Be Careful What You Ask For – Once Again, The Chevron Ecuador Version of Asking to Litigate Ou

Time and again, US companies argue that the US courts cannot and should not take jurisdiction over disputes with some but not all of their roots in events outside the US. Chevron followed that tactic in seeking to push the Ecuador pollution litigation from the US to Ecuador. But after the courts in Ecuador ruled, Chevron deemed the ruling corrupt and waged jihad agains the plaintiff’s lawyers, litigation funders and many others involved in the litigation.  (For those wanting more background, Michael Goldhaber has constantly provided a nuanced, intelligent assessment of the issues. His Kindle book –  Crude Awakening – is especially helpful and inexpensive.)

The “be careful” moment arose again last week. Specifically, once again Chevron faced questions about its long ago request to litigate in Ecuador instead of the US, combined with further examination of its views and actions as to Ecuador’s courts and its related invocation of an arbitration process. Michael Goldhaber recounts part of the moment as follows in an April 23, 2014 article at AmLaw’s Litigation Daily. The reference to “Wesley” is to Judge Wesley of the 2d Circuit:

“The more consequential drama came after Wesley pressed Olson on why Chevron didn’t exhaust its local remedies by invoking Ecuador’s Collusion Protection Act. Here’s where the argument went off the rails. Devoted Chevronologists may follow along in the transcript, beginning on page 49.

After some diversion, Olson answered that relief in Ecuador would be worthless, as Ecuador’s system had been corrupted “right from the beginning.” With those unnecessary words, Olson set a trap for himself.

Wesley pounced: “Then why did you go there?” he asked with intensity. Meaning: if Ecuador was corrupt “right from the beginning,” then why did Chevron’s predecessor Texaco spend the decade from 1993 to 2002 telling the U.S. courts that Ecuador was not corrupt, and begging to move the case there?

For those who find these issues of note, read more: http://www.litigationdaily.com/id=1202724404971/The-Global-Lawyer-Will-Chevron-Lose-in-the-Second-Circuit#ixzz3YEhf4c8X

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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