Lago Agrio: Arbitral Tribunal Finds Chevron Is Not Liable for the $19 Billion Ecuadoran Judgment

Update: Here is the award, which friend-of-Letters Blogatory Doug Cassel was good enough to provide.

Second Update: Having now read the thing through, it seems to me that the WSJ was a little hasty in its conclusions, and I was a little hasty in relying on the WSJ. I’ll try to have a better look at this tomorrow.

This just in … the tribunal in the arbitration between Chevron and Ecuador has issued a new partial award, in which it determines that Chevron is not liable on the $19 billion Lago Agrio judgment. As far as I know the award itself is not yet publicly available, and it’s not exactly clear what “not liable” means, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the gist of the partial award was that Ecuador had previously signed a release that, according to the tribunal, released both Texaco and Chevron from liability for the claims on which the Ecuadoran court found Chevron liable. The award is just a partial award, and I am awaiting further information about what issues are left in the case. My assumption is that the next issue is what remedy Chevron should have against Ecuador, but we’ll see.

If I were Chevron’s lawyer, I would now be dusting off my memoranda about offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel—remember that the RICO trial begins in New York next month! Surely there are some issues that the tribunal has decided and that Chevron would like to have deemed established in its battle with the Lago Agrio plaintiffs and Steven Donziger.

More on this to come.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2012), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

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