Daily Trust (Abuja)

13 September 2010

Nigeria: Chevron Prevails in Court Appeal

Chevron Corp successfully beat back an attempt by Nigerian villagers to hold it liable for a deadly clash on an oil platform in Nigeria, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

In 2008 a Northern California jury decided Chevron did not have to pay compensation to a group of plaintiffs for a clash a decade earlier between Nigerian state forces and protesters on Chevron's Parabe oil platform, 9 miles (14 km) off Nigeria's coast. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused on Friday to disturb that verdict, according to its ruling.

While the villagers claimed they launched a peaceful protest on the platform that turned bloody, at trial Chevron characterized the action as a hostage-taking.

One of the plaintiff attorneys, Bert Voorhees, said on Friday that they were disappointed in the appellate ruling, and that they had not yet decided whether to seek further judicial review.

"It's very, very rare any court of appeal is going to second-guess evidentiary rulings by an experienced judge," Voorhees said.

A Chevron spokesman said the appellate court ruling "further exonerates" the company.

"Chevron Nigeria Limited remains committed to its operations, the communities where Chevron Nigeria operates, and being a force for positive development in the region," company spokesman Kent Robertson said.

The appeal court also found that the Torture Victim Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, does not apply to corporations.

The case in the 9th Circuit is Bowoto v. Chevron Corp, 09-15641. (Reuters)

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2010 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.