Friend of the blog and Chevron advocate Doug Cassel weighs in with his reaction to the Yaiguaje decision. Stay tuned for my own reaction this afternoon.
Last week’s jurisdictional decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in Chevron v. Yaiguaje is a first-inning victory for the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, in their quest for a foreign court to enforce their $9.6 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for harm allegedly caused by Texaco’s oil pollution decades ago.
But first innings alone do not win ball games. The plaintiffs have a long way to go in Canada, and the toughest issues remain before them. As the Court made clear, “A finding of jurisdiction does nothing more than afford the plaintiffs the opportunity to seek recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment.”
The only issues before the Canadian Supreme Court were jurisdictional: Can the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ suit to enforce their judgment be heard in Canada at all? This broke down into two issues: Could an Ontario court entertain the suit against Chevron (the US-based parent company), and could it entertain the suit against Chevron Canada (the company’s Canadian subsidiary)? On both issues, the rulings were limited to jurisdiction over suits to “recognize and enforce a foreign judgment.”
Continue reading Doug Cassel on Yaiguaje
Update (10:25 a.m.): The Lago Agrio plaintiffs prevailed on their jurisdictional arguments. Both Chevron and its indirect Canadian subsidiary are subject to the jurisdiction of the Ontario courts. The court did not decide whether the corporate veil between the subsidiary (the entity with the assets in Canada) and Chevron (the judgment debtor) could be pierced, leaving the question for further proceedings. Alex Manevich and I have made some initial comments on the decision, which you can read below, and in the next several days I expect to have a few posts from guest-posters commenting on the case, too.
Readers, at 9:45 this morning the Canadian Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corp., the Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ attempt to seek recognition of the Ecuadoran judgment in Canada and the second most important legal story of the day. I’m happy to be joined on this liveblog by Alejandro Manevich of Ricketts Harris in Toronto. Alex is a long-time friend of Letters Blogatory and observer of the Chevron case.
Continue reading Lago Agrio: The Canadian Supreme Court’s Decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron