Chevron v. Ecuador decision: Breaking Bad or Breaking ISDS?

  1. Attempted to intimidate Chevron into settling by trumpeting a huge remediation cost estimate based on what the academic consulted called “scientific wild ass guesses”;
  2. Got experts to water down methodology when some pollution was found to likely not be caused by Texaco;
  3. Submitted reports to court that falsified expert conclusions;
  4. Secretly hired experts to pose as neutral monitors for court (including agreeing to pay them a bonus if the case was won, which Donziger termed in his diary a “bargain with the devil”);
  5. Faced with unfavorable test results and knowing that Judge Yanez had been accused of “trading jobs for sex,” coerced Yanez into reversing an earlier decision and cancelling further site inspections by suggesting that the plaintiffs would file sexual harassment complaints against him;
  6. Got Yanez to appoint Richard Cabrera Stalin Vega as a supposedly neutral global expert, who had agreed to submit a report written by plaintiffs as his own;
  7. Began paying Cabrera through a secret bank account, providing him with a secretary who was the girlfriend of one of Donziger’s associates, and giving him life insurance;
  8. Controlled Cabrera’s field work while denying any relationship to him;
  9. Wrote Cabrera’s report;
  10. Fabricated objections to Cabrera’s report to give to the court so it would bolster his claim to neutrality;
  11. When a Donziger-invited Netflix documentary crew shows Cabrera collaborating with Donziger’s team, pressured documentary crew to redact footage and attempted to produce a second report that would replace Cabrera’s,
  12. Paid Judge Guerra (who had presided over a phase of the case and been removed from the bench for misconduct) to ghostwrite orders for Judge Zambrano, who replaced him;
  13. Agreed to pay Zambrano $500,000 to publish in 2011 Guerra’s opinion awarding the plaintiffs $8.6 billion as his own (Zambrano claimed he reviewed 200,000 pages of evidence, researched US law [despite not speaking or reading English], ran databases without knowing what Excel is, and dictated 188 pages to an 18-year old secretary he paid $15 a day)…
  14. Which was in turn written by Donziger’s associates starting as early as 2009 (as evidenced by reference to documents not in the court record and in the private possession of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs).
  1. “Take immediate steps, of its own choosing, to remove the status of
    enforceability from the Lago Agrio Judgment”;
  2. “take immediate steps, of its own choosing, to preclude any of the Lago
    Agrio Plaintiffs, any “trust” purporting to represent their interests
    (including the “Frente de Defensa La Amazonia”), any of the Lago Agrio
    Plaintiffs’ representatives, and any non-party funder from enforcing any
    part of the Lago Agrio Judgment…, directly or indirectly,
    whether by attachment, arrest, interim injunction, execution or howsoever
    otherwise;
  3. “on notice from [Chevron], advise promptly in writing
    any State (including its judicial branch), where the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs
    may be seeking directly or indirectly, now or in the future, the
    enforcement or recognition of any part of the Lago Agrio Judgment … of this Tribunal’s declarations and orders regarding [Ecuador’s] internationally wrongful acts comprising a denial of justice
    resulting from the Lago Agrio Judgment”;
  4. “abstain from collecting or receiving, directly or indirectly, any proceeds
    from the enforcement or recognition of any part of the Lago Agrio
    Judgment… within or without Ecuador”;
  5. “return promptly to [Chevron] any such proceeds that
    (notwithstanding the foregoing) come into the Respondent’s custody,
    possession or control;”
  6. “take corrective measures, of its own choosing, to “wipe out all the
    consequences” of all the Respondent’s internationally wrongful acts in
    regard to the Lago Agrio Judgment”;
  7. Block any litigation prohibited by the 1995 Settlement agreement; and
  8. “make full reparation in the form of compensation for any injuries”, to be determined at a later date.
  9. Additionally, the tribunal wrote that the Zambrano decision “ is contrary to international public policy; and no part of [it] should be recognised or enforced by any State with knowledge of the Respondent’s said denial of justice” and that “any injury to [Chevron] caused by the recognition or enforcement of any part of the Lago Agrio Judgment within or without Ecuador… shall be injuries for which the Respondent is liable to make reparation under international law.”

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I write about democracy, political economy, and trade. Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Roosevelt Forward.

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Todd Tucker

Todd Tucker

I write about democracy, political economy, and trade. Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Roosevelt Forward.

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