Steven Donziger’s Response to Judge Kaplan’s Decision in Chevron RICO Case


March 4, 2014

With all due respect to the court, this is an appalling decision resulting from of a deeply flawed proceeding that overturns a unanimous ruling by Ecuador’s Supreme Court. We believe Judge Kaplan is wrong on the law and wrong on the facts and that he repeatedly let his implacable hostility toward me, my Ecuadorian clients, and their country infect his view of the case. This decision is full of vitriol, is based on paid evidence from a corrupt former judge, and ignores the overwhelming evidence that Chevron committed environmental crimes and fraud in Ecuador. Through this decision, we now have the spectacle of a Manhattan trial judge purporting to overrule Ecuador’s Supreme Court on questions of Ecuadorian law. All of these factual and legal issues will be addressed in due course on appeal. We are confident we will be fully vindicated in the U.S., as we have been in Ecuador.

Well before the trial began, Judge Kaplan made it clear he would rule against us. By not allowing me and my clients to argue before a jury, we did not have a chance to tell the real story of Chevron’s wrongdoing in Ecuador which proves the judgment is based on overwhelming and unassailable scientific evidence that Chevron committed an environmental disaster that continues to cause harm to thousands of people.

It is worth noting that this ruling is a far cry from what Chevron wanted. It does not block enforcement of the Ecuador judgment. Nothing in Judge Kaplan’s ruling will prevent my clients from pursuing the judgment’s enforcement in other countries. The villagers deserve justice, and I am confident they will get it despite Chevron’s efforts to undermine the rule of law.

I will continue my efforts on behalf of my clients consistent with the law. I also will pursue an immediate and expedited appeal so that a panel of impartial judges can review this decision.

To see additional statements, as well as a background document with further analysis on Judge Kaplan’s decision, click here.