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Appeal court says Ontario can hear Ecuadorian Chevron pollution case

TORONTO, Cananda - The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court decision and is allowing a lawsuit by a group of Ecuadorian villagers against Chevron to go ahead here in Canada.

A three-justice panel says the group, which wants Chevron Canada to pay part of a multi-billion-dollar judgment awarded in Ecuador, can have their case heard in Ontario.

In May, a lower Ontario court sided against the villagers and granted a stay in the action, ruling that assets from the company's Canadian arm were not directly owned by the California-based multinational company.

In 2011, an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron Corp. to pay US$19 billion to 30,000 villagers for black sludge contamination of a rainforest in the Amazon between 1972 and 1990 by Texaco, which it bought in 2001. Last month, Ecuador's highest court upheld the judgment but lowered the award to US$9.51 billion.

Chevron maintains it won't pay because it contends that Texaco dealt with the problem before the purchase.

The villagers have launched similar legal actions in courts around the world, including in Argentina and Brazil.

The Canadian Press

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