Amazon Defense Coalition
8 August 2007 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
Quito, Ecuador - The dismissal by a U.S. federal judge of the claims of three Ecuadorian individuals in a minor lawsuit against Chevron in San Francisco does not affect a completely unrelated $6 billion class-action environmental lawsuit against the oil giant brought by tens of thousands of people in Ecuador, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class-action case.
"The claims in the Ecuador case are totally distinct from the claims asserted in San Francisco, the clients in Ecuador are totally distinct from those represented in San Francisco, and the legal teams for the two case are likewise completely distinct," said Steven Donziger, a U.S. lawyer advising the legal team in Ecuador representing the class of 30,000 plaintiffs suing Chevron over damages from what is claimed to be the worst oil-related contamination on earth.
The Amazon Defense Coalition, the organization representing five indigenous groups and roughly 80 communities suing Chevron in Ecuador, released the following statement:
"The case in San Francisco, USA, has nothing to do with our case, and does not change the fact there are an untold number of legitimate cancer victims in Ecuador due to Chevron's poor operational practices in our country.
"Any suggestion by Chevron that the dismissal of some individual claims in the San Francisco case exonerates the company from its responsibilities in Ecuador is false. We fully expect to get a significant judgment against the company in Ecuador's courts in 2008. What happened in San Francisco is completely unrelated to what is happening in Ecuador itself, where the company is in serious legal peril and might face a liability of billions of dollars."
The Ecuador lawsuit, originally filed in 1993 in New York, alleges that Chevron dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador's rainforest from 1964 to 1992, threatening multiple indigenous groups with extinction and causing skyrocketing rates of cancer.