Steven Donziger and his friends have faced another giant setback in their attempt to collect $19 billion via Chevron as part of Ecuador’s rulling against the American oil giant that inherited the legal mess caused by the TexPet organization.
TexPet was the corporate oil production joint venture between Texaco and the State Of Ecuador’s Petroecuador that operated in that region from 1967 to 1992. While TexPet was 65 percent owned by Petroecuador, and Texaco said it cleaned up its portion of the environmental damage that was done, Ecuador teamed with greedy American trial lawyers to concoct a scheme to wrestle billions from Texaco’s new owner: Chevron.
Since Chevron never operated in Ecuador, nor was part of TexPet, it had no assets in the country, and Texaco stopped its work with Petroecuador in 1992. Thus, when Ecuador’s court ruled against Chevron in the fraudulently-tainted case. In fact, the case was so dishonest, even the name of it – Maria Aguinda – referred to a woman who the Amazon Defense Coalition claimed was waging a 20 year fight, when in point of fact, she told the makers of the movie Crude, about Donziger’s case, that she didn’t know she was suing Chevron. To make matters worse, the plaintiffs’ lawyers got her to sign on to the lawsuit by telling her she was signing up for free medicine.
The plaintiff’s lawyers looked to conduct a Worldwide money chase, starting in Canada. If they succeeded, Chevron would have to turn over its assets there to Ecuador.
Toronto Justice David Brown forecast a bitter, protracted case that would tax the court’s resources. The Judge also observed that Chevron Canada’s its own corporate structure, and because of that, really doesn’t even begin to apply to the plaintiff’s environmental damage claims. In other words, Donziger and his team are stuck: Chevron was never in Ecuador, Chevron Canada has no direct business ties to Chevron, and the real culprit, TexPet, was folded, and was mostly owned by Petroecuador and the Country of Ecuador.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Steve Donziger should be suing Petroecuador, which would translate into a lawsuit against Ecuador. Of course, given the foul temper of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, matched with how Donziger worked to form a friendship with him, his excellency just might beat the crap out of Steve in the middle of the street, then jail him.