May 21, 2012 Articles

The Recognition of "Ordinary" Mass Toxic Torts

By Paul V. Majkowski

The decades-old dispute between Chevron Corp. and Ecuadorian residents alleging Chevron’s (then Texaco’s) environmental contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon continues to rear its head, most prominently in the Second Circuit’s reversal of the district court’s preliminary injunction barring the Ecuadorian plaintiffs from seeking recognition and enforcement of their multibillion-dollar judgment rendered in the Ecuadorian courts anywhere in the world. Chevron Corp. v. Naranjo, 667 F.3d 232 (2d Cir. 2012); see Chevron Corp. v. Naranjo, No. 11-1150, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 20031 (2d Cir. Sept. 19, 2011) (order vacating preliminary injunction and staying district-court proceedings pending disposition of appeal). The district court had based its ruling on its finding that, among other things, Chevron was likely to succeed on its claims of fraud in the procurement of the judgment, which would preclude its recognition. See Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 768 F. Supp. 2d 581, 634 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (observing that the Ecuadorian judicial system “has been plagued by corruption and political interference for decades.”), rev’d, 667 F.3d 232 (2d Cir. 2012).

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