May 22, 2014 Articles

Fraudulent Practices and Foreign Judgments: Don't Try This at Home

By Guy Kamealoha Noa

In 2011, an Ecuadorian court ruled that one of the largest corporations in the world, Chevron, was responsible for polluting large swaths of land in the Amazon, and ordered it to pay approximately $19 billion dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. As one of the largest awards for environmental pollution, it was considered a landmark decision. Finally, after roughly two decades of litigation, there was going to be some relief for the thousands of native Ecuadorians that lived in and used the land that Chevron polluted. The judgment was likely to be appealed, and it has been by both sides, but at the time it marked a major victory for the "powerless peasants," the native forest tribes, and their attorneys led by American lawyer Steven Donziger. See Clifford Krauss, "Big Victory for Chevron over Claims in Ecuador," N.Y. Times, Mar. 4, 2014, at B1. Nevertheless, Chevron earned a significant victory in March 2014, when Judge Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the Ecuadorian judgment against the oil giant could not be enforced anywhere in the United States.  Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, No. 11 CIV. 0691 LAK, 2014 WL 815961, at *36 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2014).

Premium Content For:
  • Section of Litigation
Join - Now