Chevron fraud trial set to begin

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 29, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — On Tuesday, a federal judge will begin hearing testimony that a $19 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron Corp. was the product of fraud.

Judge Lewis Kaplan for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will preside over the trial.

The lawsuit was filed by the company in the federal court in February 2011.

The $19 billion judgment stems from an environmental lawsuit involving Texaco Petroleum.

In February 2011, an Ecuadorian court found the company liable for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon, causing an outbreak of disease and decimating indigenous groups.

The oil giant has vowed never to pay the hefty judgment.

Instead, it filed a racketeering lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, alleging that the Ecuador suit has been used to threaten the oil company, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate its employees — all to extort a financial settlement from the company.

Last week, Kaplan declined to order a jury trial in the case.

Instead, New York attorney Steven Donziger and the Ecuadorians must plead their case before the judge.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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