Lago Agrio: Third Parties Seek To Unseal Canadian Records

The appeal of the Canadian judgment in the Lago Agrio recognition case is going to be heard later this month, and just in time, Amazon Watch and other groups have filed a motion asking the Ontario Superior Court (the court that entered judgment in favor of Chevron Canada) to unseal “confidential information” that the parties, by agreement, had asked the court to keep under seal.

It’s not clear exactly what information Amazon Watch is seeking to unseal. Nor are the grounds for the motion really clear—the motion is much more cursory than what would be filed in a US case, and essentially it just points in a general way to the presumption that court proceedings should be open and to their interest in advocating for the Ecuadorans suing Chevron.

It’s tough to judge the likelihood of success of the motion, and it’s not clear what information would be disclosed if the court granted the motion. But in general I’m hopeful that the motion will be granted, in case there is something juicy that we haven’t gotten to see yet. It’s not really clear why it was appropriate to seal material in the first place: likely there were no trade secrets, and I am not sure I see any real possibility that information in the case would have been commercially sensitive. But we won’t really know unless the motion is granted. I’ll be keeping my eyes on this one.

Two questions. First, the motion seeks an expedited hearing because of the pendency of the appeal. Does that make sense? Second, was there any coordination between Amazon Watch and the Ecuadoran plaintiffs in connection with this motion? It would have been difficult for the plaintiffs themselves to bring the motion, since they had consented to the sealing earlier.

Oil barrels in Ecuador

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Karen Hinton

    I’m remain a US spokesperson for the Ecuadorians, and I don’t know why their attorney consented to the sealing. But here’s something I read not long ago in The Guardian. Chevron USA sent Chevron Canada its tax operations because Canada receives lower taxes from oil companies than most other countries. In fact, Chevron Canada pays Nigeria and Indonesia’s taxes on behalf of its mother ship, Chevron USA. Why? Maybe because Chevron Canada does exactly as Mother Chevron demands. So, if Nigeria and Indonesia get their tax payments, why don’t the Ecuadorians get their damage award, when every court in Ecuador issued and upheld a decision that Chevron wanted litigated in Ecuador? Chevron got their court but lost the decision.

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