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Bowoto v. Chevron
EarthRights International was co-counsel in a case, Bowoto v. Chevron, charging Chevron with complicity in brutal attacks against nonviolent demonstrators in Nigeria who protested the oil company's environmental destruction and economic disruption in their communities. In May 1998, members of the Ilaje community staged a peaceful protest at Chevron's Parabe oil platform off the Nigerian coast. Chevron called in the Nigerian military and "kill and go" police, flew them to the platform on Chevron-contracted helicopters, and supervised their attack against the protesters. Two demonstrators were killed, others were shot, and several others were detained and tortured. In 2008, a jury found in favor of the defendants on all charges. A similar case in California state court seeking to stop Chevron's ongoing harmful practices was settled in early 2009. In September 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the plaintiffs' appeal from the trial verdict, and in February 2011 it rejected the plaintiffs' petition for rehearing. The plaintiffs filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the trial court and the Ninth Circuit incorrectly ruled that Chevron could not be sued under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), but the Supreme Court denied the petition in April 2012 when it decided Mohamad v . Palestinian Authority.
In addition to EarthRights International (ERI), counsel for the plaintiffs included Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP, Traber & Voorhees, Paul Hoffman, Siegel & Yee, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Judith Brown Chomsky, Anthony DiCaprio, Robert Newman, Richard Wiebe, and Michael Sorgen.