Texaco as carpetbagger

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					Texaco as carpetbagger

                         By Edwin Leon
   Texaco as carpetbagger

In the 1960s, Carpetbaggers were seen as insidious Northern
outsiders with questionable objectives meddling in local politics,
buying up plantations at fire-sale prices, taking advantage of poor
Southerners and pushing their alien Northern ways on Southern
Texaco as carpetbagger
Texaco as carpetbagger
                   Texaco came to Ecuador in 1960.
                   Pumped out 1,500,000,000 barrels of oil.
                   Hundreds of wells were drilled and pits
                   were dug.
                   Water flowed to stream and Aguarico
Texaco as carpetbagger

                         Cofán community dropped
                         from 15,000 to a few hundred
                         Used river water to drink,
                         shower, wash clothes, etc
                         Cancer and skin diseases

           1.14 min
  Texaco as carpetbagger
                                        Texaco was sued in the US in 1993

                                        US Second Circuit Court of Appeals
                                        dismissed on forum non
                                        conveniens grounds
                                         Chevron bought Texaco in 2001
                                         becoming the third largest
                                         company in America.

In 2003, affected population
sued Chevron in Ecuador

We are still waiting for a resolution
Texaco as carpetbagger
 Procedural History

 First lawsuit in Texas ( August 1993) Sequihua v. Texaco:
           Dismissed – comity of nations
                         forum non conveniens.
           Plaintiffs decided not to appeal

Second lawsuit in New York ( Nov 1993)
            Accorded plaintiffs discovery
            Dismissed on comity of nations
                              forum non conveniens
                              failure to join two indispensable parties
             Ecuador objected jurisdiction but backed up after change of presidents
                              8 in the last 10 years
           US courts are “courts of limited jurisdiction. While the power within
those limits is substantial, it does not include a general writ to right the world’s
Texaco as carpetbagger
Motion for reconsideration ( August 12, 1997)

         Plaintiffs alleged that Republic of Ecuador and PetroEcuador filed a motion
         to intervene.
         Court requested further clarification
         Motion was denied for three reasons:
                  1.- Patently and prejudicially untimely
                  2.- Attached limitations and conditions to its proposed waiver
                  of sovereign immunity.
                  3.- They have no interest warranting its intervention because
                  of previous settlement.
The Appeal ( Oct 5, 1998)

     Forum non conveniens is not appropriate at least absent commitment from
     Texaco to submit to the jurisdiction of Ecuador
     Court should reweigh the factors relevant to Forum non conveniens
     Court should reconsider the merits of the comity issue due to Ecuador’s
     change in position
     Court agreed with plaintiffs that district court should have allowed the legal
Texaco as carpetbagger

Court’s decision (May 30, 2001)

           Texaco consented to suit in Ecuador.
           Court dismissed the case and determined that Ecuador was adequate
           alternate forum.
           Private and public factors favored dismissal
           Claim under Alien Tort Claims Act did not preclude dismissal.

The second appeal ( August 16, 2002)

          US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed.
          Conditioned on Texaco’s agreement to waive defenses based on
          statutes of limitation for a period of one year.
Texaco as carpetbagger
Part II: The situation in Ecuador at the present time

New constitution in 2008

   Number 20 and replaces the one of 1998
   444 articles and 30 transitory orders

     Trial started in 2003
          Dozens of inspections were done
                    Families lived as close as 30 feet from station
                    Pit with toxic waste from 1976 still in Shushufindi
                    Goose neck pipe systems drain waters of the pit into rivers
                    Skin diseases in 15 out of 20 children

                                      Global assessment report

                                      April 1, 2008,
                                      4,000 pages
                                      Damage for 27 billion US dollars
Texaco as carpetbagger
 November 2008: Team of engineers, doctors and biologists submitted a report:
        2,091 cases of cancer
        1,401 deaths from 1985 to 1998
        Pollution of streams and drinking water in a 1,920 square mile area

     Trial in Lago Agrio has 141,000 documents
Texaco as carpetbagger
 The Obama Letter

   Chevron wanted to push Bush to yank special trade preferences to Ecuador.
   Lobbyist: “We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this

                                 Steven Donziger visited Obama in 2006
                                 Obama vetted the issue with Vermont Sen.
                                 Patrick Leahy.
                                 In February they wrote a letter to the US Trade
                                 Representative Rob Portman urging the
                                 administration to permit the Ecuadorian
                                 peasants to have their day in court.
Texaco as carpetbagger
 Chevron’s request for arbitration
         September 2009
         Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague

          Argument: Cannot get a fair trial in Ecuador
          Los Angeles Times says the real issue is the devastating pollution
          and the affected population

Request to John Watson
 Texaco as carpetbagger

New Chevron’s CEO ( Jan 1, 2010)

Amazon Watch wrote open letter which is circulating in the internet
They new of Texaco’s actions in Ecuador.

Reminder that Texaco had admitted to having deliberately released 18 billion
gallons of toxic wastewater into the waterways of the Ecuadorian Amazon and to
having left hundreds of abandoned unlined pits filled with crude oil and poison

Confidential memorandum: to report major events only if they attract attention of
press and/or regulatory authorities

“… no reports are to be kept on a routine basis and all previous reports to be
removed… and destroyed.”
Texaco as carpetbagger
Mr. Watson tactics
 Violated free speech rights of environmental groups
 New York Times and Washington Post
 To quash ad campaign sponsored by RAN in February 2010

   This man can do something about it now.
Texaco as carpetbagger
  Support for the affected population
                            March 2, 2010, Emergildo Criollo tried to deliver letter.
                            Lafayette, San Ramon and San Francisco
                            325,000 people from 150 countries signed the petition

Received by Chevron public relations
    Texaco as carpetbagger
What is being done for the communities health?

    Rainforest Foundation

  Founders: Sting and wife Trudie Styler
  May 20, 2007 traveled to Ecuador
 Texaco as carpetbagger

Trudie visited pits covered with
Met with indigenous communities
Met with sick people

Trudie, Sting, the Rainforest
Foundation teamed with UNICEF and
the Amazon Defense Front to provide
filtered drinking water to the affected
Texaco as carpetbagger
Legal Analysis

   Complaint Grounds

   •   Negligence

   •   Public and private nuisance

   •   Strict Liability

   •   Medical Monitoring

   •   Trespass

   •   Civil conspiracy

   •   Violations of the Alien Tort Claims Act

   •   Equitable relief
Texaco as carpetbagger
 The Defense grounds

   Failure to join the Republic of Ecuador and PetroEcuador

    International comity
                                     Legally nonbinding
                                     practices adopted by states
                                     for reasons of courtesy

     Forum non conveniens

                                    Discretionary power to decline to
                                    exercise jurisdiction where another
                                    court may more conveniently hear the
  Texaco as carpetbagger

    Does an alternative forum exist?

          Nine years in US Courts – balance of public and private interest factors

Seven years of trial in Ecuador – no first decision yet

                                                Three decades of pollution v. two
                                                decades of lawsuits
Texaco as carpetbagger
Balancing private and public interests factors

  Political situation in Ecuador: 8 presidents in 10 years

                                     20 constitutions.

  Sucumbíos Court borders Colombia and Peru

   Travel advisory

  Wilson Fajardo, Ecuadorian lawyer brother was murdered
Texaco as carpetbagger

     Because of humanitarian implications in the case
     Prolonged situation keeps polluting rain forest
     Chevron has no assets in Ecuador
     The U S Second Circuit Court of Appeals should have given Aguinda
     her day in court.
Texaco as carpetbagger


 Message to John Watson. Chevron CEO.

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