Thursday, March 27, 2008

12 March 2008

Bowoto v. Chevron

US District Court for the Northern District of California

Nigerian villagers who are suing Chevron (for the last 9 years!) moved to withdraw half of their claims that the oil company was responsible for military attacks on protesters in the late 1990s.

Without any explanation--even to the judge during a later CMC--Ps' lawyers asked Judge Illston to dismiss claims by 25 Nigerians re: a January 1999 attack on villages near oil facilities in the Niger Delta where residents had violently protested against Chevron.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs had alleged that Nigerian troops--using a helicopter and boats supplied by Chevron--killed at least four unarmed people and burned two villages to the ground. Chevron had previously asserted that the dismissed claims were fraudulent, and now they're mysteriously gone...

See "Nigerians pull half of claims in Chevron suit" in the SF Chronicle, by Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer, Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

This article also says Ps lawyers claim the dismissed claims "are still part of a separate lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court that is scheduled for trial in August."

In a later discussion with two of Ps counsel (Marco Simmons and Rick Hertz), they confirmed this, and claimed that although they had to dismiss these Ps because of a "conflict of interest," they'll certainly use the instances in the State proceedings in an effort to show that Chevron conducted a pattern of illegal actions in Nigeria--by using military police to suppress protests and increase oil profits.