Ecuador: Only In America - Chevron Lawyer Receives $7.8 Million For Losing $18 Billion Ecuador Lawsuit


Chevron's Board of Directors recently awarded its General Counsel R. Hewitt Pate a 75% raise -- bringing his 2011 salary to a whopping $7.8 million -- for losing the landmark $18 billion environmental lawsuit in Ecuador, according to a recent public filing of the company. In reaching the $18 billion judgment -- the largest ever in an environmental case (see here External linkand here) -- the Ecuador trial court used Chevron's own admission that it deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste into Amazon waterways from 1964 to 1992, when the company operated in Ecuador under the Texaco brand. The dumping decimated indigenous groups and caused an outbreak of cancer and numerous deaths, according to several peer-reviewed studies.


“Only in America could a major oil company give a 75% raise to a lawyer who lost an $18 billion case to a legal team with a fraction of the resources,” said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the dozens of rainforest communities who sued the oil giant.


Chevron’s 2012 proxy statement reported that Pate’s salary jumped “in part because of his 'outstanding management of Ecuador External link(lawsuit).'" See pages 28 and 43.


Pate's 75% salary increase also is out of line with the 16.6% increase in Chevron's 2011 year-end stock valuation - a key metric for investors in deciding to support annual 'say-on-pay' votes. Chevron CEO John Watson received an even more ludicrous 65% raise to $24.7 million in 2011 compensation.


"Chevron's enormous executive pay raises are way out of step with shareholder returns and the company's dismal handling of its liability in Ecuador," said Graham Erion, a securities lawyer advising the rainforest communities.


In the latest of a series of legal setbacks on the Ecuador matter, a panel of appellate judges in affirmed the $18 billion judgment in January. The same month, a U.S. federal appeals court sharply rebuked External link Chevron for trying to use an illegal injunction to block the Ecuadorians from enforcing their judgment.


A new report published last week also found that under Pate's leadership Chevron has continually misled its own shareholders about the Ecuador liability. Some shareholders have criticized company management for mishandling the Ecuador litigation External link while others have asked for an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Pate recently reported that Chevron has used 483 lawyers and legal assistants on the Ecuador case from at least 39 different law firms. The rainforest communities are led by Pablo Fajardo, a 40-year-old Ecuadorian man who grew up in poverty and recently was award a CNN "Hero" prize. See this CNN piece External link and Vanity Fair article External link.


A former Bush Administration antitrust lawyer with little experience in the oil industry, Pate took over Chevron's legal department in 2009. Since that time, the oil giant has suffered multiple legal setbacks in Ecuador and elsewhere:

For details on Chevron’s environmental crimes and fraudulent cover-up in Ecuador, watch this video External link.


Source: Amazon Defense Coalition External link

Tags: Ecuador  Chevron  oil  environment  

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