Ontario Court Dismisses Ecuadorian Enforcement Action Against Chevron

Ontario Court Dismisses Ecuadorian Enforcement Action Against Chevron

An Ontario court in Yaiguaje v. Chevron has dismissed the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ efforts to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Canada. Essentially the dismissal rests on the doctrine of the separate legal identities of parent and subsidiary corporations.

Chevron has no assets in Canada, and the subsidiaries’ assets there cannot be attached to enforce a judgment against the parent company. This is not a particularly controversial proposition. Therefore the fight over the recognition and enforcement of the dubious $19 billion Ecuadorian judgment should be resolved elsewhere.

Here’s the key language (paras. 110-111):

By way of summary, Chevron does not possess any assets in this jurisdiction at this time. The evidence also disclosed that no realistic prospect exists that Chevron will bring any assets into this jurisdiction in the foreseeable future…. The plaintiffs’ contention that the assets of Chevron Canada ‘are’ the assets of Chevron has no basis in law or fact…. Accordingly, any recognition of the Ecuadorian Judgment by this Court would have no practical effect whatsoever in light of the absence of exigible assets of the judgment debtor in this jurisdiction.

…. Chevron is on record saying: ‘We will fight until hell freezes over and then fight it out on the ice.’ While Ontario enjoys a bountiful supply of ice for part of each year, Ontario is not the place for that fight. Far from it…. The evidence disclosed that there is nothing in Ontario to fight over…. In my view, the parties should take their fight elsewhere to some jurisdiction where ultimate recognition of the Ecuadorian judgment will have a practical effect.

Chevron’s press release responding to the ruling is here. The Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ press release is here.

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Latin & South America, North America, Trade & Economic Law
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M. Gross
M. Gross

How unsurprising.  I guess Ecuador is still holding out hope they can bring enough enforcement actions worldwide to convince Chevron to settle.  This seems… very unlikely.

Stuart Moir
Stuart Moir

The legal location of shares is at the registered office of the corporation which must be in the jurisdiction of the incorporation. Chevron Corporation’s evidence is that all its assets are in the US except for two corporations in Bermuda.
The learned judge might have closed his decision with this suggestion for the Plaintiffs:
     “Off to Bermuda you must go.”


[…] Key aspects of the decision have been summarized by Roger Alford on the Opinio Juris website (here). […]