Court sets aside cash order in Ecuadorians' appeal of Chevron decision

An Ontario court has ruled that a group of Ecuadorian villagers don't need to put up almost a million dollars before they can pursue a claim against Chevron.

'Impractical' to force plaintiffs to prove they don't have the money: appeals court

Ecuadorian villagers do not need to put up almost $1 million before they can pursue a claim against oil behemoth Chevron. (David Bell/CBC)

TORONTO - An Ontario court has ruled that a group of Ecuadorian villagers don't need to put up almost a million dollars before they can pursue a claim against Chevron.

A judge had ordered the villagers to produce the money to cover Chevron's legal costs in case they lose.

The villagers are asking the Canadian courts to make Chevron Canada pay an award of $9.5 billion USD they won in Ecuador against U-S-based Chevron Corp in 2013 for environmental devastation and the health problems it caused.

The Supreme Court has said the group's case can be heard here, but an Ontario judge ruled Chevron Canada is a separate entity and can't be held liable for the judgment against its parent.

The Ecuadorian villagers are appealing that decision, but a judge had ordered them to first put up $943,000 to cover
Chevron's legal costs if they lose.

The villagers argued they couldn't come up with that kind of money.

The Appeal Court found it would be impractical to try to force the 47 representative plaintiffs to prove they don't have the money to put up as security -- let alone require as much from the 30,000 or so villagers affected by the pollution.