Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Corporation v. The Republic of Ecuador, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No. 2009-23, Chevron Post-Hearing Letter on BIT Proceedings in Chevron v Donziger et al (June 1, 2015)
I write as counsel for Chevron Corporation (“Chevron”) in response to Appellants’ supplemental briefing, which was supposed to explain what bearing, if any, the ongoing arbitration between Chevron, Texaco Petroleum Company (“TexPet”), and the Republic of Ecuador (“ROE”) under the United States-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty (the “BIT arbitration”) has on the resolution of this appeal. Instead, Appellants’ briefs range far afield, as they rehash old contentions and raise new issues at this late stage that are unrelated to the arbitration. Their limited arguments about the BIT arbitration show why they have never before, during the four years of this litigation, suggested that the district court should have abstained, stayed, or otherwise deferred to that proceeding: There is no legal or factual basis to do so. It is perfectly appropriate for a victim of fraud to pursue different claims against different parties in different fora, especially where, as here, no single tribunal has jurisdiction over all of the relevant parties.
Perhaps for this reason, rather than asking the district court to defer to the BIT tribunal, up until now Appellants have gone to extraordinary lengths to disparage and impugn the competence and good faith of the tribunal’s members and their charge. Any stay or deference owed to the BIT tribunal is thus more than waived—it has been affirmatively and repeatedly disclaimed. But even if Appellants had taken a different tack and instead had asked the court below to stay or dismiss this action out of deference to the arbitration, they would have failed. Appellants’ own cited authority makes plain that a pending arbitral proceeding involving different legal claims, different sources of law, different parties, and different requested relief cannot justify the suspension of a federal court’s virtually unflagging obligation to exercise its jurisdiction. And no authority supports an appellate court staying a final judgment after a full trial on the merits out of deference to an ongoing arbitration that may be years away from finality.