Friday, September 04, 2009

Chevron Ecuador: Amazon Defense Coalition's statement on Judges' recusal

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The Amazon Defense Coalition sent this email to me containing their statement responding to the news that Ecuadorian Judge Juan Nunez recused himself in the wake of a video that captured him in a meeting explaining how he planned to rule in the Ecuador / ADC lawsuit against Chevron.

The statement:

Judge’s Recusal Clears Path For Legal Proceedings to Continue
Validates Chevron’s Initial Faith in Ecuadorian Court System

Quito, Ecuador (September 4, 2009) – Steven Donziger, attorney for the plaintiffs, said:

The judge’s decision to recuse himself clears the path for the legal proceedings to continue uninterrupted. This appears to have been done by the judge to disrupt Chevron's intention to further delay a litigation that has lasted 16 years. The judge’s action once again validates the effective functioning of the Ecuadorian legal system — a system that Chevron chose as the best forum to hear the lawsuit. The vast majority of the competent evidence in the case, including all the evidence used as a basis for the $27.3 billion damages assessment against Chevron, was received by the court prior to the tenure of Judge Nunez.

We again call on competent authorities in Ecuador and the United States to investigate any role Chevron and its officials might have played to script a bribery scheme for purposes of extracting an advantage in a private litigation.

The recusal does not change the overwhelming evidence against Chevron in the underlying case. The evidence in that case demonstrates clearly Chevron’s responsibility for wrecking the rainforest, decimating indigenous groups, and putting thousands of Ecuadorian citizens at grave risk.”

NOTE: Chevron’s main defense is that a 1995 remediation agreement, signed with the government of Ecuador two years after the lawsuit was filed in the US in 1993, releases the company from all responsibility for the contamination. However, it is important to include that the agreement specifically carves out individual, third-party claims, such as ours, in the agreement. Chevron was not released from lawsuits such as the Aguinda vs Chevron case. Also, evidence in the Ecuadorian trial has found that the oil wells and pits that Texaco claimed to have cleaned in the remediation agreement test today at extremely high and illegal levels of toxic contamination. The plaintiffs maintain that the remediation agreement was a sham. Two Chevron lawyers, who worked for Texaco at the time, and seven former Ecuadorian officials have been indicted for fraud.

Maryland folks make fun of Cal's Jahvid Best

Maryland fans are making fun of Cal's Heisman Trophy hopeful running back Jahvid Best and the reason is a monster hit Best sustained last year and delivered by Terps linebacker Kevin Barnes. He hit Best so hard the runner was momentarily looking to right himself, then tossed his cookies on the field.

As we approach what's shaping up to be an epic battle between the 12th ranked California Golden Bears and the Maryland Terrapins, that play comes up again and again, and again in the media and on the blogs with the Internet providing remiders of headlines past.

The blogs have had a field day.

"Terps Pull Upset, Cal Pulls Upchuck"
"Terps Football Makes People Sick"
"Cal's Jahvid Best Loses His Lunch"

You get the idea.

Best wants revenge, saying "I have to go this weekend and reclaim my name in Maryland." And he has every reason to want to. That hit was the shot heard round the World. Barnes hit Best so hard that dogs howled, children dried, Terrapins hi-fived, and, well, Best threw up.

I wonder how the memory of that play will impact Best on Saturday,after his first contact. It's a weird position for him to be in: first game of 2009 but against the very team that knocked him silly last year. Best can either sink or swim. My bet is that he swims.