“On behalf of Protect the Protest, a task force of dozens of advocacy groups set up to respond to SLAPPs and legal intimidation, we would like to ask about your ongoing use of civil litigation as a tool to punish and harass activists.
It’s been 5 years since Chevron blocked the enforcement of the $9.5 billion judgement issued against it in Ecuador. The purported objective of the litigation has been met. Why, then, is so much time and money still being spent harassing supporters of Steven Donziger and punishing them for their public advocacy? What purpose is served by continuing to stretch out your abusive legal strategy in this way?
Specifically, we would like to ask the following:
- Why are you continuing to target indigenous leaders such as Javier Piaguaje and Hugo Camacho, who earns about $200 monthly farming in the area polluted by your oil?
- Why are you trying to financially ruin Steven Donziger by recovering $32 million in costs, when you expressly gave up all claims for monetary damages two weeks prior to trial?
- Why was Katie Sullivan – a small business owner who has helped the Ecuadorian victims raise funds to challenge Chevron – made to “live in fear” of Chevron and pressured to sign off on several false statements after spending at least $170,000 in legal fees?
- Given that you were fined for abusive subpoenas served on ELAW – with the judge finding that they were intended to harass – why are you continuing to issue subpoenas against activists, bloggers, and NGOs who have supported the Ecuadorian victims of Chevron’s oil dumping?
If the aim is not to punish Steven Donziger but those who support Steven Donziger, what exactly is it you are trying to deter? What is it you are trying to punish? And how exactly does the robust civil society these activists and advocates represent constitute a material risk to Chevron?
The reality is these actions are solidifying the Chevron brand as one tied not only to environmental destruction but legal abuse, bullying and intimidation. Is that what you want Chevron to be known for?”