Law Scholar Criticizes U.S. Judge Kaplan for Using “Judicial Slander” To Undermine Ecuador Pollution Case by Hinton Communications, November 10, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y., Nov. 10 /CSRwire/ – A prominent U.S. law scholar is criticizing a federal judge and Chevron for using tainted witness testimony and “international judicial slander” to illegally undermine efforts by Ecuadorian rainforest villagers to collect a $9.5 billion environmental judgment needed to clean up the extensive contamination of their ancestral lands.
Burt Neuborne, a professor at New York University School of Law, has filed a brief that faults Judge Lewis A. Kaplan and Chevron for engaging in what he called an “extraordinary venture in international judicial slander” against Ecuador to undermine the validity of the pollution judgment, which was affirmed recently in a 5-0 decision by the country’s Supreme Court.
Chevron had insisted the dispute over who is responsible for the toxic dumping be heard in Ecuador after the villagers originally filed their claims in New York in 1993. The company later started to attack Ecuador’s courts when evidence of its systematic toxic dumping began to mount during the eight-year trial in the country, which ended in 2011. Chevron then came back to the U.S. and asked Judge Kaplan to deem the Ecuador judgment unenforceable, which he did in March of this year after denying the villagers a jury of impartial fact finders.
“The District Court’s experiment with conducting its own foreign policy must be reversed,” Neuborne wrote in the brief, which asks a federal appellate court to throw out Kaplan’s controversial ruling.
Kaplan, long accused of harboring animus toward the Ecuadorians and their court system, invited Chevron to file the racketeering case in 2010 and then assigned it to himself. He also repeatedly called the villagers the “so-called” plaintiffs and referred to their litigation as a “giant game” designed to help “fix the balance of payments deficit” of the United States. (Kaplan also refused to consider any of the scientific evidence of Chevron’s pollution in Ecuador. For more on Kaplan’s flawed proceeding, see this summary.)
Neuborne, the founding director of the Brennan Center for Justice and considered one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties scholars, is representing two Ecuadorian villagers on a pro bono basis in their appeal of Kaplan’s ruling. Also appealing the ruling is New York attorney Steven Donziger, the longtime legal advisor to the villagers.
In the latest submission, filed on behalf of Hugo Camacho and Javier Piaguaje, Neuborne made the following arguments:
**Chevron’s allegation that the plaintiffs in Ecuador engaged in bribery comes from “a crooked Ecuador ex-judge who was removed from the bench for corruption” and that the oil company presented a “bought-and-paid-for bribery story” that was uncorroborated. He pointed out that Chevron’s lawyers met 53 times with the company’s paid witness, Alberto Guerra, to rehearse his false testimony before he presented it in court.
“If such thin, uncorroborated testimony by a conceded liar and crook justifies a finding of judicial bribery, no verdict (or judge) is safe from corrupt collateral attack,” Neuborne argued.
**Judge Kaplan had no basis to assert jurisdiction over the Ecuadorian villagers given that they reside in the Amazon and have had no contact with the U.S. When Kaplan ruled the villagers could not enforce their judgment — despite unanimous decisions to the contrary by two appellate courts in Ecuador — he vastly overstepped his authority and conducted his “own foreign policy” from Manhattan in violation of international law.
“No American court has ever found the courts of a sister democracy incapable of administering justice fairly on such a flimsy record,” said Neuborne.
**Judge Kaplan and Chevron also made a critical mistake by trying to block the Ecuadorian villagers from trying to enforce their judgment not only in other countries, but also in the United States. Given that each U.S. state has separate laws governing the enforcement of foreign judgments, Kaplan had no right to dictate to judges in all 50 states how they should rule on the Ecuador judgment. And he had no right to rule on the validity of a foreign judgment absent an effort by the villagers to enforce it in New York, which has not happened, according to Neuborne.
“Where the enforcement of money judgments issued by another sovereign are concerned, judges in New York have no more supervisory authority over their colleagues sitting throughout the United States than they have over their own international colleagues,” he said.
**Neuborne also emphasized that Kaplan’s findings that lawyers for the Ecuadorians had engaged in wrongdoing – while fiercely contested by Donziger in his own appeal –does not allow Chevron an “all purpose get out of jail free” card against innocent Ecuadorian rainforest villagers who had no control over how their international lawyers litigated the case.
In finding against Chevron, the Ecuador trial court relied on 105 expert technical reports documenting Chevron’s responsibility for what experts consider to be one of the worst oil-related ecological disasters on the planet. Evidence showed that to save on production costs, Chevron deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest and abandoned more than 900 open-air toxic waste gouged out of the jungle floor.
The Ecuador court also imposed an additional $9.5 billion punitive penalty on Chevron after finding that the company tried to corrupt and sabotage the trial process by threatening judges and filing hundreds of frivolous motions. Ecuador’s Supreme Court later threw out the punitive penalty on technical grounds, effectively halving the amount of Chevron’s liability.
Chevron operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1990 under the Texaco brand.
Briefing in the appeal of Kaplan’s ruling will end later this month with the submission of Donziger’s reply brief. In the meantime, Donziger and the Ecuadorians have been supported with “friend of the court” briefs filed by 17 civil advocacy and human rights groups and more than 30 international law scholars. For background on the various supporting briefs, seehere.
Chevron’s supporting briefs were submitted largely by entities that have received significant funds from the oil giant, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the legal arm of the National Organization for Women. See here for background. Chevron also failed to muster even a single “friend of the court brief” for a critical argument on enforcement of the Ecuador judgment that will be heard December 11 before Canada’s Supreme Court. … [Emphasis added]
Canadian lawyers and Chevron’s court battle over environmental damage in Ecuador by Kirsten Iler, October 30, 2014, rabble.ca
A storm of controversy erupted amongst Canadian lawyers when the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) decided to intervene in Chevron’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal is part of Chevron’s battle against Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples who seek to enforce a massive court judgment against the company for environmental damage in Ecuador. Amid increasing pressure, the CBA ultimately decided not to intervene. However, the event speaks to an apparent divide within the legal profession: around the relationship and importance of corporate law principles (such as the corporate veil), corporate accountability, and access to and the administration of justice. …
To date…total of eight appellate judges in Ecuador have found Chevron liable. In the words of the Ontario Court of Appeal decision: “[t]he bottom line is this: there is a final judgment in Ecuador against Chevron for US$9.51 billion”(para 12).
Bringing the case to Ontario
At the lower court, Chevron argued that Ontario courts lack jurisdiction. Justice Brown of the Superior Court of Justice disagreed, holding that an Ontario court has jurisdiction to consider whether the final judgment from a court in Ecuador should be recognized and enforced in Canada. However, Justice Brown chose to stay (i.e., to suspend) the action on the grounds that Chevron did not have assets in Ontario and held that “the plaintiffs have no hope of success in their assertion that the corporate veil of Chevron Canada should be pierced and ignored so that its assets become exigible to satisfy the Judgment against its ultimate parent”(para 109).
The Ecuadorean villagers appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal on the issue of the stay. Chevron cross-appealed on the issue of jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s finding on the issue of jurisdiction. In his reasons, writing for a unanimous court, Justice MacPherson also noted that Chevron Canada was “entitled to dispute that its assets (or that Chevron Canada in its entirety) are exigible for the judgment debts of Chevron” but that [t]he usual concerns regarding the piercing of the corporate veil … are not present at the stage of this preliminary jurisdictional determination” (para 39).
The notion of lifting or “piercing” the corporate veil has been explained by the Supreme Court of Canada in this way, as set out in Justice Wilson’s reasons’ in the Kosmopoulos case:
As a general rule a corporation is a legal entity distinct from its shareholders ….The law on when a court may disregard this principle by “lifting the corporate veil” and regarding the company as a mere “agent” or “puppet” of its controlling shareholder or parent corporation follows no consistent principle. The best that can be said is that the “separate entities” principle is not enforced when it would yield a result “too flagrantly opposed to justice, convenience or the interests of the Revenue” … I have no doubt that theoretically the veil could be lifted in this case to do justice … (para 12).
On the issue of the stay, the Court of Appeal found that the Justice Brown had erred in imposing the stay, holding that:
… the motion judge’s stay in a major case involving poor and vulnerable foreign residents, one of the world’s largest corporations, a long and difficult process in a foreign court, and a huge damages award, was entirely his own construct; no party sought it. Consequently, this issue was not argued before the trial judge, and no cases were put before him regarding the appropriateness of granting a discretionary stay (para 53).
Given the context in which, for two decades, “Chevron has contested the legal proceedings of every court involved in this litigation,” the Court of Appeal found it would be an injustice to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs were the court to grant a stay “without giving the plaintiffs the option to make legal arguments and compile a record” (paras 57 and 69).
The Ontario Court of Appeal concluded its decision thus:
Even before the Ecuadorian judgment was released, Chevron, speaking through a spokesman, stated that Chevron intended to contest the judgment if Chevron lost. He said: “We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice. Chevron’s wish is granted. After all these years, the Ecuadorian plaintiffs deserve to have the recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment heard on the merits in an appropriate jurisdiction. At this juncture, Ontario is that jurisdiction. (paras 74 and 75).
Consistent with its assertion to never back down, Chevron has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Enter the Canadian Bar Association
Enter, finally, the CBA issue: when the CBA announced its decision last July to intervene in Chevron’s appeal, there were reportedly objections from lawyers in Aboriginal, environmental and civil law sections of the CBA, as well as the Law Union of Ontario, among others.
According to proponents of the intervention, the CBA would be a “neutral” intervener, aiming simply to clarify important points of business law, including the corporate veil and the enforceability of foreign judgments. In a statement, the CBA acknowledges that “the circumstances surrounding this case are controversial, arguably deplorable.”
Opponents, however, say the proposed factum went beyond neutral points of law and, moreover, was drafted in such a way that it could actually help Chevron in overturning the Court of Appeal decision, a decision viewed as a victory for both the plaintiffs and for advancing access to justice for marginalized peoples. Under these circumstances, opponents thought it inappropriate for the CBA to participate in Chevron’s appeal, saying it would promote (or at least appear to promote) corporate principles and the rights of big businesses over corporate accountability and justice for Indigenous peoples. They distributed an open letter to the CBA and organized protests, holding placards that read, for instance: “This is why people hate lawyers” and “Lawyers, show Chevron that your integrity is not for sale.”
Amid mounting political pressure, the CBA backed down just before the filing deadline, stating that its legislation and law reform committee had concluded the case did not meet its requirements for intervention. (The committee had reportedly recommended against proceeding from the start.)
A representative for Chevron says they “look forward to demonstrating to the Supreme Court of Canada that the trial court in Ontario has no jurisdiction to hear the action brought by the Ecuadorean plaintiffs.” In other words, Chevron is full-steam ahead in its mission to continue evading payment of the Ecuadorian court judgment which, by law, Chevron is obliged to pay to the Indigenous plaintiffs. [Emphasis added]
Chevron Will Lose Ecuador Pollution Case on Both Law & Facts by Karen Hinton, October 22, 2014, Huffingtonpost.ca
Prediction: Chevron will lose the historic Ecuador pollution case on both the law and the facts, despite what you may have read in articles by U.S. legal reporters about the 20-year plus lawsuit.
Human rights groups argue against Chevron in Ecuador cleanup dispute by Jeff Gray, October 19, 2014, The Globe and Mail
Chevron Corp. is trying to convince Canada’s courts to impose “novel and unnecessary” barriers to block a group of Amazon villagers seeking to enforce a controversial $9.5-billion (U.S.) Ecuadorean environmental judgment against the U.S. oil giant, a coalition of Canadian human-rights groups alleges. The battle over the cleanup bill for oil pollution left in Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region has dogged the company for 13 years. Chevron refuses to pay the amount demanded in the 2011 judgment and condemns it as the product of fraud, bribery and faked evidence.
The tangled fight came to Canada two years ago when the plaintiffs sought to have Ontario’s courts recognize the Ecuadorean judgment and seize Chevron’s Canadian assets, including the company’s stake in Alberta’s oil sands.
Now, the jurisdictional question of whether Canada’s courts should hear the case is due before the Supreme Court of Canada in December, after Chevron challenged an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling ordering it to go ahead.
In written arguments submitted to the top court on Friday, a group of intervenors – the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s faculty of law, MiningWatch Canada and the Canadian Centre for International Justice – says Chevron should not be allowed to knock the case out of court before it is heard on its merits.
“The jurisdictional requirements proposed by [Chevron] are novel and unnecessary and are tantamount to asking this court to raise additional barriers for those attempting to enforce judgments obtained against transnational corporations for environmental or human rights harms,” the groups say.
Chevron argues that Canada’s courts have no business wading into the dispute, since Chevron’s Canadian subsidiary had nothing to do with the battle in Ecuador. Chevron’s arguments rely on the legal principle known as the “corporate veil,” or the legal separateness between a parent company and its subsidiaries. Courts can decide to “pierce the corporate veil” and hold a parent company liable for a subsidiary’s actions, but only in certain circumstances. …
The intervenor arguments were filed last week, after the Canadian Bar Association abandoned a controversial plan to file arguments as an intervenor on Chevron’s behalf, reversing course after pressure and resignations from aboriginal and environmental lawyers. [Emphasis added]
Women Criticize NOW For Taking Money from Chevron In Ecuador Pollution Case and Then Filing Amicus Brief by Donziger and Associates, October 17, 2014, The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
NEW YORK, N.Y., Oct. 17 /CSRwire/ – The legal arm of the National Organization for Woman (“NOW”) is under attack from rainforest indigenous villagers and their allies for accepting a large donation from Chevron and then filing a legal brief in favor of the oil company in its campaign to evade an Ecuador court judgment ordering it to clean up extensive oil contamination in the Amazon.
The NOW legal group never disclosed its financial ties to Chevron in the “friend of the court” brief filed recently before the United States Court of Appeals in New York, raising ethical concerns and infuriating women in Ecuador who have battled for two decades to hold Chevron accountable for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste onto their ancestral lands. “This is a very disturbing example of how NOW’s legal advocates are both deceiving courts and openly betraying the women of Ecuador who have suffered hugely at the hands of Chevron,” [Emphasis added]
Chevron Wins Ecuador Arbitration But Money May Go To Amazon Communities by Mayu Chang, October 13, 2014, CorpWatch
To date Chevron has refused to pay a penny of the $9.5 billion judgment or accept blame for polluting the Ecuadorean rain forest. The company claims that the Ecuador judgment is not enforceable “in any court that observes the rule of law” despite the fact that Texaco itself requested the trial in Ecuador.
Claiming that the Ecuadorean trial was “a product of fraud” Chevron has vowed to fight the Ecuadoreans “until hell freezes over, and then we’ll fight it out on the ice.” …
The Ecuadorean communities are unable to collect any money from the company since Chevron has no assets left in the country. The villagers have taken the fight to Argentinian, Brazilian and Canadian courts, hoping to make Chevron comply with the Ecuadorean ruling by seizing assets held by the oil company’s subsidiaries in other countries.
(It should be noted that in 2013, Chevron had a net profit of $21.4 billion on sales and other operating revenues of $220 billion. The company’s $227 billion market valuation is more than twice the size of Ecuador’s annual economic output.)
Meanwhile, Texaco had also been involved in a separate and long-standing dispute with Ecuador dating from contracts drawn up in the 1970s. The company claimed that the government had taken more than its fair share of oil during the original production sharing agreement. Ecuadorean courts refused to hear this case so in 2006 Chevron decided to seek arbitration through the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
The arbitration court ruled in Chevron’s favor, so Ecuador appealed in local Dutch courts. Ecuador’s appeal was first denied at the district level and then at the Supreme Court, which ruled on September 26 that Ecuador’s 1997 U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty prevented Ecuador from disputing judgments and ordered the government to pay Chevron $106 million plus interest.
Ironically, this $106 million arbitral award might be a game changer for the Amazonian communities. After all, if the Ecuador government pays the money out, it is likely to be Chevron’s only substantial asset in Ecuador, say activists.
“Chevron cannot on the one hand refuse to pay a valid final court judgment in its chosen forum of Ecuador, and on the other hand pretend to collect a separate judgment against Ecuador’s government in an unrelated case,” Steven Donziger, one of the attorneys for the Ecuadorean communities was quoted saying in a recent press release. “Such selective enforcement would show favoritism toward a wealthy litigant and would undermine the rule of law for everybody.”
Simon Billenness, a human rights activist, believes that the rainforest communities would likely make very good use of the $106 million. “It could be used in part to pay for remediation of the oil pollution, and it could be used to fund new legal enforcement actions to seize Chevron’s assets outside Ecuador to collect fully on the $9.5 billion judgment,” he wrote on his blog for the CSR Strategy Group. (Billenness is one of the individuals that Chevron has sued to prove its racketeering case against Donziger) [Emphasis added]
CBA drops plans to intervene for Chevron at Supreme Court by Shawn McCarthy, October 16, 2014, The Globe and Mail
The Canadian Bar Association has done an 11th-hour reversal and dropped plans to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of Chevron Corp. in a high-profile battle involving Ecuadorean aboriginal people. With the filing deadline Friday, CBA president Michele Hollins sent a letter to members from across the country, saying a review committee determined the case did not meet the association’s standards for intervention. “The committee concluded that while the factum was well-drafted and of a high standard of quality, it did not meet the specific requirements of the intervention policy,” she wrote.
Lawyers working in aboriginal affairs, environmental law and civil law had all objected to the association’s decision, taken last July, to support Chevron’s arguments in an upcoming hearing on whether Canadian courts can enforce a foreign judgment. …
The original decision sparked protests from across the country, with some lawyers resigning their CBA membership. Critics complained the action was being driven by Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, which prepared the factum for free and also does corporate work for Chevron in Calgary.
Despite objections from several of its member groups, the CBA board confirmed its decision last month but reversed course after hearing from its legislation and law reform committee, which must sanction the factum before it is submitted. That committee had originally recommended against proceeding. …
Victoria lawyer Kathryn Deo – who had resigned from the CBA and its aboriginal law committee as a result of the intervention – welcomed the reversal. “I am delighted with the news that the CBA will not be intervening in the case,” she said in an email. “I commend President Hollins, the board of directors and the [legislation and law reform committee] for following the intervention policy. “I’m sure it was a difficult decision but it was clearly the right decision and we are appreciative of their courage in reversing course.”
A spokesman for Blakes, Gary Nurse, said Blakes had no issue with the decision of the CBA, for which the firm was acting pro bono. “We are supportive of our client’s decision in this matter. We have a great relationship with the CBA and look forward to working with them again in the future,” Mr. Nurse said in an e-mail. “As with all client matters, we are not able to comment further.”
In an e-mail, Morgan Crinklaw, a spokesman for Chevron, offered no comment on the CBA’s decision, but pointed out that some human rights groups have sided with Chevron in a move by lawyers for the Ecuadoreans to appeal a recent U.S. federal court decision that declared the Ecuadorean judgment a product of fraud.
“Chevron Corp. and Chevron Canada Limited look forward to demonstrating to the Supreme Court of Canada that the trial court in Ontario has no jurisdiction to hear the action brought by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs,” Mr. Crinklaw said. [Emphasis added]
The View From Up North: Has The CBA Crossed The Line? by Steve Dykstra, October 15, 2014, abovethelaw.com
The CBA had this to say: “Our decision to intervene in the upcoming Supreme Court proceedings was based on our desire to contribute to a debate where fundamental and foundational principles of business law will be argued.” It added, “[t]his is an important issue for Canada.” My first question: who is the “our” in that statement? There has been enough backlash to assume the CBA doesn’t speak as one voice for its 37,000 members. That leads to my fundamental problem with this: The CBA is an industry group. What business does it have sticking its nose into substantive questions of law and procedure, especially in front of the court? I can understand if it wants to put out a position paper for membership consideration, but actually stepping into battle and arguing a position when it has no ties to the case seems wrong.
The other baffling thing for me: if the CBA is going to request intervenor status, why would it hire Blakes to help write the SCC brief on its behalf? Blakes apparently does corporate work for Chevron in Calgary. You simply can’t hire a firm that has ties to the defendants. Period, full stop. It kills your credibility. … There are dozens of qualified law firms the CBA could have retained. Surely there are a bunch of available firms that have no ties to Chevron? [Emphasis added]
The CBA’s Chevron Intervention: Why Many Canadian Lawyers are Appalled by David S. McRobert, October 12, 2014, solidwastemag.com
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) — a venerable part of the Canadian legal and political establishment with a membership of 37,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada — is facing a public relations disaster and significant controversy related to a decision made by its Executive Board (led by President Michele Hollins, herself a corporate lawyer [surprise, surprise] based in Calgary).
The CBA’s intervention in the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje has highlighted the triumph of corporatism within a supposedly neutral organization purporting to represent a broad range of interests and perspectives, including animals rights advocates, as well as feminist, environmental and aboriginal lawyers who take a more critical approach to social change and law reform. …
….hugely profitable and well lawyered companies suddenly find themselves bereft of assets in the nations where they originally caused mayhem and health problems, but enriched in the grand old USA or some other nation where their multinational is based. Thus, back in 2011 Chevron had no more assets in Ecuador and the victims began to try to enforce the judgement in countries where Chevron has assets, such as Canada.
In Canada, many communities can understand the utter despair of the Ecuadorean villagers. In the late 1990s, the Ontario environment ministry began to threaten to take action against Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) for dumping Trichloroethylene (TCE) and other toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater surrounding its properties in Peterborough, Ontario (where I live). But OMC, the makers of durable chain saws, outboard marine engines such as Evrinrude, snowmobiles and other gasoline powered equipment, had discovered its cupboards were bare and closed up its Peterborough shop and Canadian operations, transferring its assets to the USA (where the company still operates profitably). After a lengthy hearing at the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, in 2000 the remnants of OMC and its impoverished corporate directors offered the ministry a paltry settlement of $15 million to clean up the mess. But in 2011 the money for treating the contaminated groundwater and soil in the Landsdowne and Monaghan of Peterborough (the affected area) ran out. Now the environment ministry is running the clean up and no doubt will for years to come. Paid for by Ontario taxpayers. Good deal for OMC. Bad for the victims of its pollution in Peterborough who find they cannot sue for compensation now that they have been able to connect the dots and understand how OMC’s air and water pollution caused childhood cancers and other serious health problems in the residential areas that were literally dozens of feet from the polluting OMC operations between 1910 and 1990.
Open Letter on the Canadian Bar Association’s intervention in Chevron v. Yaiguaje:
We, the undersigned members of the Canadian Bar Association, and former members who have felt compelled to resign over this issue, are writing to express our deep concerns about the CBA’s intervention in the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje.
This case involves efforts by indigenous villagers in Ecuador to have Canadian courts enforce, against Chevron’s assets in Canada, a multi-billion dollar pollution judgment obtained in a court in Ecuador. The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously accepted that the villagers can seek enforcement of the judgment in Canadian courts. Chevron is appealing to the Supreme Court.The CBA has decided to intervene in the Supreme Court to oppose enforcement of the judgment, based on arguments regarding jurisdiction and piercing the corporate veil.
When the CBA intervenes in a case, it is taking a position on behalf of the legal profession as a whole. That cannot be done lightly. The process for making such a decision is critical, as it must ensure that a sufficient consensus exists within the profession in support of the CBA’s position.
In our view, the process by which the CBA decided to intervene in this case was seriously flawed. The intervention was approved by the executive against the advice of its own legislation and law reform committee, the civil litigation “section” (the name for a practice-specific group of lawyers), and the unanimous opposition of the National Sections Council Executive. Relevant sections, including aboriginal law; environmental, energy and resources law; and constitutional and human rights were not consulted. The firm selected to conduct the intervention acts for Chevron in other matters. Recently, following complaints, the issue went to a last-minute meeting of the National Board, but members were denied the right to raise “process concerns.” This is not a legitimate way for the CBA to approve an intervention.
This intervention is also contrary to the CBA’s own intervention regulation. This regulation requires either that the intervention be consistent with an existing CBA policy (there was none here), that it be a matter of compelling public interest that the CBA formally adopts as policy before authorizing the intervention (the CBA has produced no such policy, despite being asked for one), or that it be a matter of special significance to the legal profession (again, none here). There is no question that the Chevron case raises issues of significance. It could clarify the law in this area, and affect how lawyers, particularly corporate counsel, advise their clients. But that is true of almost any case before the Supreme Court. The CBA’s intervention regulation requires more than important legal issues to justify an intervention.
The CBA can hardly be oblivious to the broader implications of intervening in a case in which vulnerable people face tremendous odds in their effort to seek redress for the harm caused to their lands and interests by environmental pollution. If it wants to be broadly representative of the profession in Canada, it has not only to limit its interventions to cases where there is a deep consensus. It also has to ensure that its position does not clash so jarringly with the core values of the bar, including our commitments to access to justice and to the public interest. Chevron can quite readily make its arguments on the corporate veil and the application of the judgments of foreign jurisdictions. It has the means to do so and hardly needs what is only a fraction of the Canadian Bar Association to support its arguments.
We want to express our deep disappointment with the CBA’s decision to pursue this intervention. In doing so, it purports to speak for all of us; it does not. We ask that the CBA immediately reverse its decision to intervene. …
Signatories to the Open Letter to the CBA re the Chevron Intervention
1. Michael Jerch – Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section; past Chair and Co-Chair of Manitoba Aboriginal Law Section
2. Ming Song – (resigned); Vice-Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section; formerly on National Board of Directors; formerly on National Finance Committee; formerly on B.C. Provincial Council; past Chair and Vice-Chair of B.C. Vancouver Aboriginal Law section; past Chair of Young Lawyers Conference
3. Garth L. Wallbridge – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section
4. Peter R. Grant – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section; past Chair of B.C. Small Practitioners Section
5. Peter W. Hutchins – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section
6. Aimée Craft – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section
7. Christopher Devlin – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section; National Aboriginal Law Section’s sub-committee on law and legislative reform
8. Jeffrey F. Harris – past Chair of National Aboriginal Law Section; past President of Manitoba Branch
9. Kathryn Deo – (resigned); National Aboriginal Law Section Executive; past Chair and Co-chair of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section; Co-Chair 2014 National Aboriginal Law Conference
10. Cheryl Milne – Secretary of National Constitutional & Human Rights Section; past Chair of Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section
11. Derek A. Simon – Secretary of National Aboriginal Law Section
12. Krista Robertson – Treasurer of National Aboriginal Law Section
13. Julie Jai – past Chair of Ontario Aboriginal Law Section and current Executive member; Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties & Human Rights Law Section Executive
14. Richard Ogden – Chair of Ontario Aboriginal Law Section
15. Laura Zizzo – Secretary of Ontario Environmental Law Section
16. Matt Boulton – Treasurer of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section
17. Lorraine Land – (resigned); National Aboriginal Law Section Executive; past Chair of Nunavut Aboriginal Law Section
18. Wade R. Poziomka – Secretary of Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section; Ontario Labour & Employment Law Section Executive
19. David McRobert – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive; formerly on Ontario Environmental Section Executive
20. Judith Rae – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive
21. Lisa Fong – Vice Chair of National Ethics Professional Responsibility Committee; Treasurer of B.C. Health Law Section
22. Gray Taylor – past Chair of National Environment, Energy & Resources Law Section
23. Diane Soroka – Federal Court Bench and Bar Liaison Committee
24. Veronica Singer – National Equality Committee
25. James McDonald – Co-Chair of Ontario Labour & Employment Law Section
26. Allison Fenske – Chair of Manitoba Aboriginal Law Section; Manitoba representative on the National Pro Bono Committee
27. Bonnie D. Missens – past Vice-Chair Saskatchewan Corporate Counsel North; past Aboriginal Liaison
28. Laura Bowman – (resigned); Ontario Environmental Law Section Executive; past co-Chair of Nunavut Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Section
29. Brian Hebert – past Chair of Nova Scotia Aboriginal Law Section
30. Tim Thielmann – Chair of B.C. Aboriginal Law Section Vancouver Island
31. Leigh Anne Baker – Chair of Yukon Aboriginal Law Section; past co-Chair of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section
32. Karen Ensslen – Program Coordinator of Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties & Human Rights Law Section Executive
33. Lisa Glowacki – Co-Chair of B.C. Constitutional & Civil Liberties Section
34. David Leitch – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive; past Chair of Ontario Official Languages Committee
35. Drew Mildon – B.C. Provincial Council Representative for Victoria County; National Aboriginal Law Section Executive; past Chair of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section
36. Kate Blomfield – Co-Chair of B.C. Aboriginal Law Vancouver Section
37. Grant J. Gray – past Chair of Criminal Justice Sub-Section for Kelowna, B.C.
38. Kim Gilson – past Chair of Manitoba Aboriginal Law Section
39. Marian Foucault – Secretary of Aboriginal Law Section for Vancouver Island
40. Jeff Langlois – Co-Chair of Vancouver Aboriginal Law Section
41. Caitlin Mason – Legislative Liaison of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section Executive
42. Mitchell Couling – past Treasurer of B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section
43. Merrill Shepard – National Aboriginal Law Section Executive; past Chair of Vancouver Aboriginal Law Section
44. Jeff Howe – National Aboriginal Law Section Executive
45. Catherine Fagan – National Aboriginal Law Section Executive
46. Robin Campbell – National Aboriginal Law Section Executive
47. Jameela Jeeroburkhan – National Aboriginal Law Section Executive
48. Leah M. Bitternose – Saskatchewan Aboriginal Law Section North
49. Larry Innes – organizing committee of 2014 National Aboriginal Law Conference
50. Holly Vear – B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section Executive
51. Seema Lamba – Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties & Human Rights Section Law Executive
52. Ken Stuebing – Ontario Workers’ Compensation Executive
53. Rosanne Kyle – formerly on B.C. Vancouver Aboriginal Law Section Executive
54. Yuki Matsuno – Co-ordinator of B.C. Westminster Family Law Section; formerly Co-Chair of B.C. Women Lawyers Forum (BC) Education Committee
55. Matthew Nefstead – past Legislative Liaison for B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section
56. Susan Ursel – formerly on Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties & Human Rights Law Section Executive
57. Kenning Marchant – formerly on National Environment, Energy & Resources Law Section Executive; formerly on National Aboriginal Law Section Executive
58. Kevin Scullion – past Chair and current member of Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive
59. Neo J. Tuytel – past Legislative Liaison of B.C. Vancouver Environmental Sub-Section
60. Heather Mahony – past Co-Chair of Aboriginal Law Vancouver Island Section
61. Laura Bonenfant – B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section Executive
62. Janice LaForme – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive
63. Saba Ahmad – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive & newsletter editor
64. Angelina Schliephake – Ontario Aboriginal Law Section Executive
65. Sue Lott – Ontario Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section
66. Camille Labchuk – formerly on Ontario Animal Law Section Executive
67. Katherine Koostachin – Ontario Aboriginal Law Executive
68. Allison Russell – B.C. Vancouver Aboriginal Law Section Executive
69. Alan Hanna – B.C. Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section Executive
70. Barry Robinson – Alberta Environmental Law Section-South
71. Kaitlyn Mitchell – Ontario Environmental Law Section Executive; Ontario Animal Law Section Executive
72. Sarah Rauch – B.C. Equality and Diversity Award recipient; Children’s Law Committee
73. Erin Gray – (resigned); member
74. Leah Mack – member
75. Karenna Williams – member
76. James Beddome – member
77. Natasha Gooch – member
78. Eamon Murphy – member
79. Dyna Tuytel – member
80. Stephen Thom – member
81. Camille Israël – member
82. Charles Hatt – member
83. Virginia Mathers – member
84. Maya Stano – member
85. Elin Sigurdson – member
86. Joshua Philips – member
87. Micha J. Menczer – member
88. Matt McPherson – member
89. Charles Vincent – member
90. Michael McClurg – member
91. Anastasia M. Lintner – member
92. Errol Mendes – member
93. Clarine Ostrove – member
94. Crystal Reeves – member
95. Sarah Ciarrocchi – member
96. Jeff Huberman – member
97. Delaney Greig – member
98. Gary W. Wanless – member
99. Gerry Phillips – member
100. Savannah Carr-Wilson – member
101. Mae Price – member
102. Emily Beveridge – member
103. Sam Harrison – member
104. Karey Brooks – member
105. Jim Reynolds – member
106. David Estrin – member
107. Andrew Lemieux – member
108. Kylie Buday – member
109. Brenda Gaertner – member
110. Iliad Nazhad – member
111. Dave Steele – member
112. Tim Watson – member
113. Anne Gregory – member
114. Steven Barrett – member
115. Andrew Unger – member
116. Ethan Poskanzer – member
117. Gavin Kotze – member
118. Sean Jones – member
119. Paul Joffe – member
Protesters claim Canadian Bar Association’s intervention before the Supreme Court benefits Chevron’s corporate rights by Zach Ruiter, October 10, 2014, nowtoronto
A group of lawyers, students at law and mining injustice activists held a protest on Thursday (Oct. 9) against the Canadian Bar Association’s decision to intervene in a Supreme Court of Canada hearing that will determine if the multinational corporation can be held accountable in a Canadian court.
“The arguments the Canadian Bar Association are making are in favour of Chevron’s position, they are not looking at this as an access to justice issue, as an indigenous and environmental rights issue” said Riaz Sayani-Mulji, a first year U of T law student.
“So many members of the bar are upset across the country. It has exposed some pretty serious issues of accountability within the organization,” says aboriginal rights lawyer Lorraine Land, who resigned from the executive of the CBA’s aboriginal law section to protest the move she believes places corporate law interests above human rights.
To further complicate matters, the firm that will argue the intervention on behalf of the CBA, Blake Cassels & Graydon, also does corporate work for Chevron.
“The indigenous people of the Amazon are sick and dying” says Santiago Escobar, an Ecuadorian activist with the Dirty Hand of Chevron campaign. “Thirty billion litres of oil was spilled that the government of Ecuador estimates is 30 times more than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.”
Other speakers at the rally addressed issues with Chevron’s current operations. Reluca Bejan spoke about protests held back by riot police in her home country of Romania where Chevron is exploring for shale gas. G20 activist Julian Ichim spoke in solidarity with an ongoing camp in Unis’tot’en territory blockading Chevron and other large pipeline companies in British Columbia.
Lawyer Judith Rae is hoping that, as a result of the protests, CBA will withdraw their application.
“Our protests are drawing attention. It’s something the CBA can’t ignore.” [Emphasis added]
Members leave CBA over Chevron case by Yamri Taddese, October 6, 2014, Law Times
Some members of the Canadian Bar Association are considering giving up their memberships after the organization decided to act as a neutral [???] intervenor in Chevron Corp.’s upcoming legal battle against the indigenous Mayan people of Ecuador at the Supreme Court of Canada.
David McRobert is unhappy with the CBA’s decision to intervene and says he disagrees with the corporate law principles it’s raising in the Chevron case. E-mails obtained by Law Times show the CBA is moving ahead with the intervention despite a recommendation from the aboriginal law section that it refrain from doing so. The e-mails suggest some executive members of the section have resigned as a result of the organization’s decision.
The thrust of the case against Chevron is that the company caused extensive pollution in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador. The indigenous villagers had obtained judgment for $9.51 billion in a local court against Chevron and they’re now seeking to enforce it against the company’s assets in Ontario. A lower court had tossed out the case against Chevron on grounds that there was no jurisdiction in Ontario to enforce the judgment, but the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed that decision.
The CBA denies it’s backing Chevron and says its position will simply clarify corporate principles, including the corporate veil and the enforceability of foreign judgments in Canada. This includes the notion of “enterprise liability”, or one corporation being liable for the actions of another. This argument is unrecognized in Canada, the U.S. or elsewhere. The second question focuses on jurisdiction – the enforceability of foreign judgments in Canada. In this case, the Ontario court granted jurisdiction even though Chevron Canada is not headquartered in Ontario and is not engaged in any activities at issue in that jurisdiction. The CBA will be arguing that this jurisdiction shopping would set a harmful precedent for the administration of justice in Canada.
But some members, such as aboriginal section executive member David McRobert, say they fundamentally disagree with those principles. “We think corporations have too much power in society, and there are issues around accountability,” says McRobert. McRobert says he’s so unhappy with the CBA’s decision to intervene that he’s struggling with whether or not to terminate his membership.
The concern for some members of the CBA is that the organization has retained Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP for its intervention given that the firm acts for Chevron in other matters.
McRobert says the decision to intervene in the case is inconsistent with the CBA’s approach to previous situations. Unlike the current case, he says the CBA often dives into matters when they relate to the role of lawyers, such as issues of solicitor-client privilege, he says. The decision to advance corporate principles in this matter gives the public an impression that lawyers are against the rights of aboriginal people, according to McRobert, who notes Chevron is a well-represented party in this matter and that entities other than the CBA could intervene without causing a controversy. “As a precedent for the CBA, I worry about what it signals,” he says.
Another member of the aboriginal law section, Judith Rae, says several people from her firm, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, have resigned their membership and notes she’s “definitely considering it.”
“I have two concerns. The first is that I don’t think this is a good case for CBA intervening and if they were intervening, I don’t think it’s the right position to be taking,” she says.
The CBA should properly consult members when it decides to intervene in a controversial matter, according to Rae. She says even the legislation and law reform committee of the CBA, which is responsible for reviewing appropriate matters for intervention, is against the decision to intervene in this case.
In its application to intervene, the CBA wrote that it has “a direct and significant interest in the issues raised in this appeal” as 4,500 of its members are in-house lawyers, some of whom have corporations as clients.
In a statement to Law Times, the CBA admitted the issues around the case are “arguably deplorable” but still defended its decision to intervene.
“The CBA appreciates fully that the circumstances surrounding this case are controversial, arguably deplorable. The decision to intervene does not mean that the CBA supports Chevron or their actions in Ecuador in any way, shape or form,” the CBA said. [Emphasis added]
Canadian Bar Association feels backlash over Chevron intervention by Shawn McCarthy, September 30, 2014, The Globe and Mail
Lawyers from across Canada are raising concerns – and in some cases resigning their memberships – over the Canadian Bar Association’s intervention on behalf of Chevron Corp. in a high-profile case involving Ecuadorean aboriginal people.
Despite objections from several of its member groups, the CBA board confirmed on Monday its decision to have Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP submit a brief to the Supreme Court of Canada over issues of corporate identity and the enforcement of foreign orders on Canadian companies. Critics raised a number of objections, including the involvement of Blakes, which does corporate work for Chevron in Calgary.
The CBA’s original decision to intervene came after it referred the matter to its legislative and law reform committee, which recommended against proceeding. In addition to the environment and aboriginal committees, the civil litigation committee waded in, urging the CBA board in a letter last week to reverse its stand.
In an interview Tuesday, Victoria lawyer Kathryn Deo, managing partner at Arbutus law group LLP, said she and many of her colleagues from the aboriginal law practice were tendering their resignations in protest. “The CBA didn’t follow its own processes at all for when and how it should intervene in a case like this,” Ms. Deo said. …
Judith Rae of the Toronto firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP said the Blakes’ involvement raised a “red flag” for her and many of her colleagues due to the potential perception of conflict. Ms. Rae is on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s aboriginal affairs committee, and said she and the Ontario executive will be pursuing options, including possible resignation from the CBA.
The national association acknowledged Tuesday that it faced a backlash from members and some resignations, though it offered no numbers. It said the resignations were “unfortunate but not surprising. …
The in-house counsel association supported the CBA’s decision, as did the corporate law section.
Chevron Corp. spokesman Morgan Crinklaw said the company did not mount a campaign to win support from the CBA. The Supreme Court turned down an application by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to intervene. [Emphasis added]
IHRP Granted Leave to Intervene before Supreme Court in Chevron v. Yaiguaje by University of Toronto Faculty of Law, September 2, 2014
Intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada in Yaiguaje v Chevron Corporation
Partner Organization: MiningWatch Canada, Canadian Centre for International Justice
Counsel: Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless (Klippensteins LLP); Renu Mandhane (IHRP)
The IHRP, MiningWatch, and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), have been granted leave to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Yaiguaje v Chevron Corporation case. The IHRP will be represented by Renu Mandhane (Director of the IHRP), along with two UofT alumni’ Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless.
The Lago Agrio litigation is a decades-long struggle between Chevron and Amazonian villagers from Ecuador who are seeking compensation for the extensive pollution of the Amazon Rainforest between 1972 and 1990. In February 2011, after years of litigation in Ecuador, an Ecuadorian court finds Chevron liable in the amount of US$18 billion – the largest environmental damage award in history. The award is subsequently reduced to $9.51 billion on appeal. This award is now final for the purposes of Ecuadorian law.
Yaiguaje v Chevron Corporation is an attempt to get a Canadian court to enforce the $9.51 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron in Canada. If successful, this would mean that a Canadian court would order Chevron and its Canadian subsidiaries to pay the $9.51 billion that is owed to the plaintiffs from the Canadian-based assets of Chevron and its subsidiaries.
At this juncture, the Supreme Court is only considering preliminary issues regarding whether plaintiffs are able to attempt to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in Canada at all. Notably, the Supreme Court will not, at this stage, determine whether the Ecuadorian judgment will be enforced in Canada – that is a question for another day.
The Supreme Court will determine two key issues. Both have important implications for other individuals and communities who have suffered human rights and environmental harms caused by transnational corporations.
Do Canadian courts have jurisdiction to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment?
Is it possible for the plaintiffs to recover the money that is owed to them from Chevron’s Canadian-based subsidiaries?
The primary purpose of a joint intervention would be a) to inform the Supreme Court about recent developments in international human rights law, and b) to use these developments in international human rights law to urge the Supreme Court to interpret Canadian common law in a manner that removes legal barriers that act to prevent victims of abuses by transnational corporations from attaining reparations or damages through the judicial process. [Emphasis added]
Supreme Court will hear Chevron appeal in Ecuador environmental damages case by The Canadian Press, April 3 2014, The Globe and Mail
The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an oil company’s appeal of a lower court decision that allowed a group of Ecuadorian villagers to seek billions in damages for environmental pollution. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in December that the group, which wants Chevron Canada to be held responsible for a multi-billion-dollar judgment awarded in Ecuador, can have their case heard in Ontario.
The appeal judges overturned a lower court, which found that the company’s Canadian arm should not be on the hook for the judgment because their assets are not directly owned by the California-based multinational.
The villagers had argued Chevron Canada has billions of dollars in assets it could use to pay the judgment, but the lower court ruled the long-standing legal battle did not belong in Ontario. “In my view, the parties should take their fight elsewhere to some jurisdiction where any ultimate recognition of the Ecuadorian judgment will have a practical effect,” Justice David Brown wrote in the decision overturned by the appeal court.
The appeal court ruled the villagers deserve to have their day in court, even if their chances of winning may be small.
“A party may bring an action for all kinds of strategic reasons, recognizing that their chances of collection on the judgment are minimal,” the judges wrote.
In 2011, an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron Corp. to pay US$19-billion for contamination of an Amazon rainforest by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001. In November, Ecuador’s highest court upheld the judgment but lowered the amount to US$9.51-billion.
Chevron maintains it won’t pay because it contends that Texaco had signed an agreement with Ecuador in 1998 and paid $40-million to clean the pollution, and was absolved of any future liability. But the villagers argue that the agreement does not exempt the company from third-party claims. [Emphasis added]
Chevron granted leave to challenge Ecuador judgment in Supreme Court of Canada by Drew Hasselback, April 3, 2014, Financial Post
Villagers in Ecuador obtained a US$19-billion judgment against Chevron following a decades-long court case in that country. The plaintiffs are trying to enforce the decision in Ontario. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear Chevron’s request to quash the Ontario enforcement proceedings of a multi-billion dollar pollution judgment against the company issued by a court in Ecuador. As is the court’s custom, the SCC provided no reasons for its Thursday decision. Granting leave merely gives Chevron the chance to appear at a hearing and argue why the SCC should overturn the legal green light the Ontario Court of Appeal gave the case last December. …
The plaintiffs successfully appealed that decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal in December 2013. “After all these years, the plaintiffs deserve to have the recognition and enforcement of the (Ecuadorean) judgment heard on the merits in an appropriate jurisdiction. At this juncture, Ontario is that jurisdiction,” a three-judge panel of the court concluded.
Chevron emailed media this statement after leave was granted Thursday: “Chevron Corp. and Chevron Canada Ltd. look forward to demonstrating to the Supreme Court of Canada that the trial court in Ontario has no jurisdiction to hear the action brought by the Ecuadorian plaintiffs. Among other things, Chevron Canada Limited is not a party to the Ecuador judgment and Chevron Corp. is based in the United States and has no assets in Ontario or any connection with the province.” [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Progressives Defeat Chevron Millions in Richmond Vote by Ken Broder, November 06, 2014, allgov.com
Chevron spent $3 million to elect a city government in Richmond that would show proper respect for the company and its sprawling oil refinery, but came up short. Despite outspending their political opponents 20-1, three Chevron-bankrolled candidates for the city council and one for mayor were defeated, giving progressives a 6-1 majority. Councilman Tom Butt was elected mayor and Jovanka Beckles, Gayle McLaughlin and Eduardo Martinez won council seats. McLaughlin is the outgoing mayor and Beckles is an incumbent. Butt gave all the credit for his victory to Chevron. “I’ll be honest,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “When I got in this race, I wasn’t sure I could win it. But I felt I needed to give people a choice . . . and it looks like Chevron shot themselves in the foot.”
Chevron has a history of aggressive political participation in the city, where it is a major employer, but amped up its activities after a 2012 refinery fire ignited a groundswell of opposition to a $1-billion expansion project. The disastrous fire blackened the sky and sent 15,000 people to hospitals with breathing problems. The fire started after a badly corroded pipe leaked. … Chevron denies that it will be will bring in oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, or fracked oil from North Dakota’s booming Bakken fields. Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet and Bakken crude is plenty filthy. Both would have the added disadvantage of arriving by rail, an ever-more-popular and dangerous prospect as fracking operations expand in the West.
Referring to comments from a Chevron spokesman that the company would “fight this until hell freezes over” and then “fight it out on the ice,” Justice James MacPherson of the Court of Appeal writes: “Chevron’s wish is granted.
2012 11 08: Hell Froze Over As Argentina Embargoes Chevron’s $2 Billion In Assets
Yesterday, hell froze over when an Argentine court embargoed or, in effect, froze up to potentially $19 billion in Chevron assets in the South American country. Now it’s time to fight it out on the ice. Chevron, which now has about $2 billion in assets in Argentina, has sworn it will never pay a dime to cleanup the contamination it left behind in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Said former General Counsel Charles James: “Not till hell freezes over, and then we will fight it out on the ice.”