Supreme Court declines to hear Chevron, Ecuador case

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear arguments in a long-running legal dispute between Ecuador and oil giant Chevron.

An American lawyer representing Ecuadoran citizens in the contest had appealed a federal lower court’s August decision that blocked the $8.6 billion fine assessed against Chevron by an Ecuadoran court.

The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in August ruled that Ecuador’s lawyer Steven Donziger engaged in “bribery, coercion and fraud” in the case. The Supreme Court on Monday formally declined to hear an appeal of that decision.

The legal fight stems from Chevron’s 2001 purchase of a subsidiary, Texaco, which operated in Ecuador. Residents accused Texaco of environmental damage stemming from oil exploration in the Amazon rainforest in the 1990s, and a court in the country fined Chevron $8.6 billion in damages in 2011.

Chevron then sued Donziger and convinced a federal judge in 2014 to block Ecuador from collecting the fine. The appeals court affirmed that decision, and with the Supreme Court passing on hearing arguments, the company said its concerns have been “finally and conclusively affirmed by the legal system of the United States.”

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