Chevron faces lawsuit in Ecuador over pollution Environmental News


Steven Donziger is on trial in federal court in New York City for failing to turn on his computer, phone and other electronic devices and for refusing a court order to surrender his passport in a civil case brought by Chevron.

An American lawyer, who has spent more than two decades fighting Chevron Corp for the pollution of Ecuador’s rainforest, sought to prevent criminal contempt charges filed against him by the power agency on Monday.

Steven Donziger is on trial in federal court in New York City for failing to turn on his computer, phone and other electronic devices and for refusing a court order to surrender his passport in a civil case brought by Chevron.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Presca is presiding over the case without a jury.

In an opening statement, state attorney Rita Glavin said Donziger consciously chose to disobey a court order to return his devices and documents.

“The election is the outcome,” he said.

Martin Garbas, who drew a different picture arguing for Donziger, said the court was not initially clear about what the lawyer wanted to hand over.

The incident is the latest in a long line of fighting in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador, with villagers representing Donzigar seeking to hold Chevron responsible for forest and soil pollution in the forest between 1964 and 1999.

Chevron said Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron, cleaned up the contamination and state-owned Petroquador was largely responsible for the contamination.

In 2011, Donzigar won a .59.5 billion verdict against Chevron in a court in Ecuador. Later that year, the U.S. agency filed a lawsuit against Donziger in federal court in Manhattan, claiming that he and his associates had pressured the presiding judge of Ecuador.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge Louis Kaplan ruled in favor of Chevron, saying Ecuador’s verdict was protected by bribery, fraud and extortion.

As a result of the Chevron verdict, Donzigar sought to recover the money, and Donzigar was instructed to return it to the forensic experts of some electronic device companies. When he refused, Kaplan charged him with criminal contempt.

Donziger said the allegations violated his right to due process under the U.S. Constitution.

The Harvard-trained lawyer was dismissed by a state appeals court in New York last year.





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