In what we believe was the first time that a public interest group used the FLA to assist communities in a case against a U.S. multinational corporation, we sought to obtain information from Chevron regarding the negative impacts of gas flaring in Nigeria. Nigerian communities had sued Chevron in Nigeria over gas flaring, and they sought environmental impact assessments and other documents from Chevron in the United States. The FLA action ended in a settlement in which Chevron agreed to turn over the requested documents. This action was inspired by Chevron itself, after the company tried to use the FLA to discredit its activist critics.
Five villages in Ugborodo Community in Nigeria’s Delta State sued Chevron Nigeria Ltd. (CNL) in Nigerian court. In that case, they allege that CNL is liable for environmental and other damages caused by flaring of natural gas in their villages. The Nigerian lawsuit, led by attorney George Ogara, charges that Chevron Nigeria’s flaring in Ugborodo Community violates their right to life as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution, and their rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Plaintiffs also allege that Chevron Nigeria failed to conduct a statutorily required Environmental Impact Assessment before beginning its operations, and failed to conduct an Environmental Evaluation Report (EER) to determine the state of the environment since commencing gas flaring in the Plaintiff’s’ Community. The Plaintiffs are seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Chevron Nigeria from continuing the gas flaring in Ugborodo Community.
The Applicants in the FLA action, Theophilus G. Metsagharun, Jackson Omareye, Lofty Ogbe, Bawo Omadeli, and Gbejule Okoturo, are plaintiffs representing five villages in Ugborodo Community in a lawsuit in the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Asaba Judicial Division, Theophilus G. Metsagharun et. al. v. Chevron Nigeria Ltd. In that action, they allege that CNL is liable for environmental and other damages caused by CNL’s flaring of natural gas in their villages.
Chevron Corporation and Chevron USA, Inc.
The Nigerian action will decide the legality of CNL’s flaring in Ugborodo. The legal issue in the FLA action was whether the Plaintiffs in the Nigerian case were entitled by Section 1782 to evidence from Chevron, CNL’s parent, for use in the Nigerian case.
In November, the Plaintiffs filed their case in Nigeria
In November, the Plaintiffs filed their Foreign Legal Assistance Action under Section 1782.
In June, the parties agreed to settle the FLA action.