Ecuadorian plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Canada, their first move outside their country to try to uphold an $18 billion court judgment against oil giant Chevron for polluting the Amazon.
According to the Associated Press, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Pablo Fajardo, said the case, which was filed in an Ontario court Wednesday, is the first in what will be a series of lawsuits across 30 countries in four continents where Chevron has assets.
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The initial judgment against Chevron came down last year, and was considered one of the biggest rulings ever for environmental damages, reported Reuters. The ruling was issued by an Ecuadorian court in the jungle region where the pollution is said to have occurred, and was upheld by an appeals court in January. Chevron has since appealed the decision in Ecuador's Supreme Court.
The lawsuit is intended to seize shares and assets of Chevron Canada, as the oil company does not currently hold assets in Ecuador, according to Nasdaq. Chevron claimed the judgment is not enforceable in any court that upholds the law and said it will continue to defend itself. The company also alleged that lawyers and representatives for the plaintiffs committed fraud and corruption, and that they conspired to fabricate evidence.
The original ruling was a result of contamination in Ecuador's Amazon region from 1972 to 1990 by Texaco, which Chevron has owned since 2001, reported the AP. Chevron said Texaco corrected the environmental damage it had done before leaving Ecuador in 1992.