Chevron Sues Bowoto Plaintiffs for $500,000 in Costs
This story in the continuing saga of Bowoto v. Chevron should give human rights litigants pause:
Chevron Corp., which prevailed in a human-rights lawsuit seeking to hold it responsible for the shooting of Nigerian protesters at an oil platform, is seeking nearly $500,000 in legal costs from the villagers who brought the suit. Chevron’s claim for reimbursement, filed in federal court, includes $190,000 in copying charges.
I contacted counsel for Chevron to secure a copy of the memorandum in support of costs, which is available here. The pleading includes itemized costs for several small expenses and two significant expenses of $263,640 for deposition costs and $190,216 for photocopying expenses.
The message of this latest move is clear: corporate defendants like Chevron are willing to fight hard against ATS litigation and send a message to human rights litigants that they should be extraordinarily careful to pursue claims that have a good chance of losing. As one of the lawyers representing the Nigerian plaintiffs put it, “My assumption is that it’s punitive and it’s designed as a shot across the bow of any would-be plaintiffs in the future.”