Canadian court dismisses $9.5 billion Ecuadorian claim against Chevron Canada

April 4, 2019

By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday dismissed all claims attempting to force Chevron Corp’s Canadian unit to pay a $9.5 billion judgment handed down in Ecuador against the U.S. oil major over pollution in the Andean country.

The ruling draws a line under attempts to sue Chevron through its Canadian unit.

Residents of Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region have been trying to force Chevron to pay for water and soil contamination caused from 1964 to 1992 by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.

The villagers obtained a judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in 2011. But the company has no assets in the country, and the villagers have been trying to sue it in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to enforce the decision.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled in 2017 that Chevron Canada is a separate entity to its parent company and its shares and assets could not be seized by those seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment.

Canada’s highest court rejected a request to review that decision, which is now final.

“Any further efforts by the plaintiffs’ lawyers to continue this lawsuit in Canada would be an abuse of the country’s legal system and a waste of its judicial resources,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel.

The decision comes after an international tribunal last year unanimously ruled that the pollution judgment by Ecuador’s Supreme Court against Chevron was procured through fraud, bribery and corruption.

Texaco was released from liability through a settlement with Ecuador years earlier, the tribunal found.

(Editing by David Gregorio)

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