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Chevron lawsuit (re Nigeria)

In 1999, a group of Nigerians of the Niger Delta region, where Chevron engages in oil production activities, brought a lawsuit against Chevron in US federal court.  The plaintiffs allege that they suffered human rights violations, including torture and summary execution, at the hands of the Nigerian military and police acting in concert with Chevron to suppress the plaintiffs’ protests against Chevron’s environmental practices in the Niger Delta.  The claims against Chevron are based on two incidents.  First, two protestors were shot by Nigerian military and police allegedly recruited by Chevron at its Parabe offshore platform.  Second, two Nigerian villages, Opia and Ikenyan, were attacked by Nigerian soldiers using helicopters and boats allegedly leased and/or owned by Chevron, and these attacks allegedly caused the death and injury of a number of villagers. 

In March of 2007, a federal judge dismissed the federal racketeering claims against Chevron, but the judge declined to dismiss the remaining nine claims made by the plaintiffs.  In August of 2007, a federal judge issued a series of decisions regarding Chevron's motions for summary judgment.  The judge's orders narrowed the lawsuit,but the plaintiffs' central claims regarding Chevron's complicity in human rights violations were allowed to stand.  On 1 December 2008, the federal jury cleared Chevron of the charges in this case.  In March 2009, the federal judge denied the plaintiffs' request for a new trial, finding that the evidence presented at trial supported the jury's verdict.  The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2009.  The Court of Appeals heard the appeal in June 2010.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding the verdict of the trial court.  The plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court on 20 June 2011 asking the court to hear an appeal in this case.  In late April 2012 the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

- "Chevron Reaches End of Torture Liability Suit",  Barbara Leonard, Courthouse New Service [USA], 23 Apr 2012
- "Verdict clearing Chevron is upheld", Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Sep 2010
- "Burden of proof at issue at Chevron-Nigeria appeal", Braden Reddall, Reuters, 14 Jun 2010
- "Chevron cleared in 1998 shootings at Nigerian oil platform", Richard Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec 2008
- "US judge lets Chevron Nigeria lawsuit continue", Reuters, 16 Aug 2007

- "Chevron wins partial dismissal in Nigeria case", Associated Press, 14 Mar 2007
- “New Document Alleges Tie Between Chevron and Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria”, William Baue, SocialFunds.com, 12 Aug 2005

- “Chevron Paid Nigerian Troops After Alleged Killings”, David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 04 Aug 2005

- “ChevronTexaco Going To Trial”, Karen Gullo, Bloomberg News, 26 Mar 2004

Chevron:
- Bowoto v. Chevron - Hostage Taking Incident in Nigeria

Center for Constitutional Rights [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- Bowoto v. Chevron [case synopsis]

Earthrights International [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco [includes links to certain court documents]
 
- [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporaton - Petition for Writ of Certiorari, 20 June 2011
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporation - Opinion, 10 Sep 2010 

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Lawsuit
18 February 2014

Chevron lawsuit (re Nigeria)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In 1999, a group of Nigerians of the Niger Delta region, where Chevron engages in oil production activities, brought a lawsuit against Chevron in US federal court.  The plaintiffs allege that they suffered human rights violations, including torture and summary execution, at the hands of the Nigerian military and police acting in concert with Chevron to suppress the plaintiffs’ protests against Chevron’s environmental practices in the Niger Delta.  The claims against Chevron are based on two incidents.  First, two protestors were shot by Nigerian military and police allegedly recruited by Chevron at its Parabe offshore platform.  Second, two Nigerian villages, Opia and Ikenyan, were attacked by Nigerian soldiers using helicopters and boats allegedly leased and/or owned by Chevron, and these attacks allegedly caused the death and injury of a number of villagers. 

In March of 2007, a federal judge dismissed the federal racketeering claims against Chevron, but the judge declined to dismiss the remaining nine claims made by the plaintiffs.  In August of 2007, a federal judge issued a series of decisions regarding Chevron's motions for summary judgment.  The judge's orders narrowed the lawsuit,but the plaintiffs' central claims regarding Chevron's complicity in human rights violations were allowed to stand.  On 1 December 2008, the federal jury cleared Chevron of the charges in this case.  In March 2009, the federal judge denied the plaintiffs' request for a new trial, finding that the evidence presented at trial supported the jury's verdict.  The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2009.  The Court of Appeals heard the appeal in June 2010.  In September 2010 the Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding the verdict of the trial court.  The plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court on 20 June 2011 asking the court to hear an appeal in this case.  In late April 2012 the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

- "Chevron Reaches End of Torture Liability Suit",  Barbara Leonard, Courthouse New Service [USA], 23 Apr 2012
- "Verdict clearing Chevron is upheld", Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Sep 2010
- "Burden of proof at issue at Chevron-Nigeria appeal", Braden Reddall, Reuters, 14 Jun 2010
- "Chevron cleared in 1998 shootings at Nigerian oil platform", Richard Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec 2008
- "US judge lets Chevron Nigeria lawsuit continue", Reuters, 16 Aug 2007

- "Chevron wins partial dismissal in Nigeria case", Associated Press, 14 Mar 2007
- “New Document Alleges Tie Between Chevron and Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria”, William Baue, SocialFunds.com, 12 Aug 2005

- “Chevron Paid Nigerian Troops After Alleged Killings”, David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 04 Aug 2005

- “ChevronTexaco Going To Trial”, Karen Gullo, Bloomberg News, 26 Mar 2004

- Chevron: Bowoto v. Chevron - Hostage Taking Incident in Nigeria

- Center for Constitutional Rights [plaintiffs’ counsel]: Bowoto v. Chevron [case synopsis]

- Earthrights International [plaintiffs’ counsel]: Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco [includes links to certain court documents]
 
- [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporaton - Petition for Writ of Certiorari, 20 June 2011
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: [PDF] Bowoto, et al. v. Chevron Corporation - Opinion, 10 Sep 2010 

Article
1 November 2013

[PDF] Briefing note - Africa Oil Week 2013: Oil & gas industry must improve its respect for human rights

Author: Aliou Diouf, Joseph Kibugu, Nokukhanya Mncwabe, Julia Mello Neiva, Gregory Regaignon - Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

The oil & gas industry has a vital role to play in Africa’s development. But too often exploration and extraction are linked to human rights abuses against local residents, oil & gas revenues prop up repressive governments, and the promise of poverty alleviation is squandered...This briefing, on the occasion of Africa Oil Week, focuses on three key areas identified by African civil society as needing urgent and transformative action to ensure the oil industry serves the common good and inclusive development, rather than causing enrichment of a few and abuses of the rights of many: 1. Community impacts: rights to water, food, health & land. 2. Violence linked to the oil industry. 3. Transparency of revenues and contracts & contribution of revenues to the fulfilment of social & economic rights. [refers to Addax Petroleum (part of Sinopec), Agip (part of Eni), Chevron, CNPC, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell, Swala Oil & Gas, Talisman Energy, Tullow Oil]

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Article
1 October 2013

[PDF] Digging deep corporate liability

Author: Lucie Greyl (CDCA) & Godwin Uyi Ojo (ERA/FoEN), for EJOLT

The impacts provoked by the expanding oil industry encompass environmental destruction, health impacts and violations of human rights. The increasing contamination jeopardizes safe conditions of life and destroys means of livelihood of vulnerable communities and of those relying on healthy ecosystems. Local communities, feeling that they are simply sacrificed to the oil industry, see themselves involved in social conflict. They are experiencing forms of environmental discrimination and might even face criminalisation of the protest when they stand up to defend their rights...[T]he number of lawsuits demanding justice for environmental, social, economical and cultural damages provoked by oil companies are increasing as well as their media visibility. Yet most outcomes are not satisfactory in tackling impacted communities claims for justice. This paper describes the most recent trends regarding oil corporations’ responsibilities and use of procedural justice by civil society through the review of emblematic legal cases. [refers to Shell, Texaco, Chevron, BP, Eni, NNPC]

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Article
2 October 2012

[PDF] Investor Statement for Human Rights and in Support of the U.S. Alien Tort Statute

Author: Boston Common Asset Management & 30 other socially responsible investors & investment managers

The U.S. Alien Tort Statute (ATS)…has become an essential statute in protecting human rights against abuses, committed both by individuals and corporations…This law is currently being contested in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell)…The U.S. Supreme Court will be considering the ramifications of allowing foreign incidents to be brought to trial in the U.S. courts. Shell and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…have returned to a long discredited argument: requiring corporate accountability decreases investment. There is no empirical evidence that in the years since the ATS was first used to address corporations, it has decreased investments in the U.S. or abroad…We are investors and investment managers representing $548 billion in assets under management and we support international legal frameworks, including the U.S. Alien Tort Statute (ATS), to protect human rights.

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Article
23 April 2012

Chevron Reaches End of Torture Liability Suit

Author: Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News Service [USA]

The Supreme Court…declined to review a decision in which Chevron dodged a lawsuit over the deaths of protesters who took over its oil rig off the coast of Nigeria in 1998. The decision not to disturb the case aligns with a finding the court made last week to not extend liability under the Torture Victim Protection Act to non-natural persons. On May 25, 1999, more than 100 others set off for an oil-drilling platform and an attached construction barge off operated by Chevron Nigeria…When members of the Nigerian Government Security Forces stormed the barge, they killed two and arrested many others, taking them back to land where they were allegedly tortured. Larry Bowoto, Bassey Jeje and the families of two killed protesters sued Chevron, and the case…went to trial before a federal jury…After the jury sided with Chevron on all claims, the 9th Circuit affirmed…

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Article
13 March 2012

Another Supreme Court boost for corporate unaccountability?

Author: Phil Mattera, Facing South

Global corporations often think they are above the law, but for more than a decade some of the most egregious human rights and environmental violators have had to answer for their overseas actions in U.S. courtrooms. It now appears that the conservatives on the Supreme Court want to put an end to this key tool of corporate accountability. The controversy surrounds a once-obscure 1789 law known as the Alien Tort Statute or the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). It allows foreign citizens to bring civil actions in U.S. courts involving violations of international law or a treaty signed by the United States. The long dormant law was revived in the 1980s by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) as a vehicle for pursuing individual human rights violators and later came to be used against corporations as well. [refers to Chevron, Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, Rio Tinto, Shell, Unocal (part of Chevron)]

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Article
20 June 2011

Plaintiffs in Bowoto v. Chevron Ask Supreme Court to Hear Case [USA]

Author: Earth Rights International

On behalf of...Nigerian plaintiffs in Bowoto v. Chevron Corp., ERI [Earth Rights International] filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court...asking the court to hear the case...[T]he petition requests that the Supreme Court overturn the decision in the case by the Court of Appeals...which ruled that corporations such as Chevron cannot be sued for torture and extrajudicial killing under the Torture Victim Protection Act...The litigation against Chevron arises out of an incident in 1998 in which Nigerian villagers occupied a Chevron offshore oil platform in the Niger Delta in order to protest environmental devastation and economic disruption caused by oil production. After several days of peaceful protest, Chevron called in...Nigerian military and police forces to attack the protestors. The security forces shot several protestors and killed two.

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Article
8 October 2010

Shortening the Long Arm of the Law [USA]

Author: [opinion] John B. Bellinger III, former US State Dept. legal advisor, New York Times

For more than a decade, dozens of multinational corporations have been sued in federal courts in the United States for alleged human rights violations under the...Alien Tort Statute. Now these suits may be over. In August...[the New York-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals] ruled that corporations may not be held liable for violations of international law...If the Supreme Court upholds the decision, it will remove an effective weapon for human rights groups to force changes in the behavior of multinational corporations...[and] the impact of their activities on local populations and the environment...Even...[without] the threat of lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute, [corporations] should ensure that their international operations...comport with accepted human rights principles. [refers to Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Talisman Energy, Rio Tinto, Coca Cola, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Yahoo]

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Article
27 September 2010

ERI Files Petition for Rehearing in Bowoto v. Chevron

Author: EarthRights International

On September 24, EarthRights International (ERI) and its co-counsel filed a petition for rehearing to a federal appeals court in Bowoto v. Chevron Corp. On September 10, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal in the Bowoto case, in which ERI represents Nigerian villagers who were shot and tortured after protesting on a Chevron offshore oil platform…The petition for rehearing focuses primarily on the court's decision that corporations cannot be sued under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), a 1992 federal statute that allows suits against those responsible for torture and extrajudicial killings…ERI asked the three-judge panel to reconsider its own decision, and also asked the entire court to examine the case "en banc," before a larger panel of eleven judges.

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Article
11 September 2010

Verdict clearing Chevron is upheld [USA]

Author: Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

A federal appeals court…upheld a San Francisco jury's verdict clearing Chevron Corp. of wrongdoing for the shootings of Nigerian villagers who occupied an offshore barge in 1998 to protest the company's hiring and environmental policies. Government security forces summoned by Chevron killed two men and wounded two on a barge tethered to a company platform nine miles off the oil-rich Niger Delta after three days of negotiations with leaders of about 150 tribesmen. Villagers…testified at the trial in 2008 that the protest was unarmed and peaceful, but Chevron's witnesses said the protesters threatened violence, held crew members captive and demanded ransom. In a lawsuit by 19 plaintiffs…the jury rejected their claims that California-based Chevron was responsible for assault, inhumane treatment and wrongful death.

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