With $27 billion in potential damages, the lawsuit being brought against Chevron is one of the biggest environmental lawsuits in the world. The lawsuit is being brought in the town of Lago Agrio, where its population, many in slums, have long suffered the consequences of Texaco's polluting actions and dumping of oil waste. Many residents have suffered and/or died of cancer caused by the pollutants illegally dumped.
While the judge is expected to rule against Chevron, there is lobbying already happening in Washington, which is expected to pressure Ecuador to rule otherwise. Appeals are expected, as is possible international arbitration.
For the full story, see the New York Times article. For more background information, see CESR's past work on such devastating environmental actions in Ecuador. CESR's report Rights Violations in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Human Consequences of Oil Development charged the government of Ecuador and US oil companies with violating the rights to health and a healthy environment. This report strengthened local efforts to confront irresponsible oil development by providing two critical elements: an international human rights framework and credible scientific evidence of violations.