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When is a Corporation Not a Corporation?

February 14, 2017

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the “Court”) in its recent decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation has reaffirmed the nature of the legal relationship between a parent corporation and its subsidiary corporation. That relationship reflects fundamental principles of corporate law, as well as modern commercial relations.

Background

The Litigation

The plaintiffs in Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation represented approximately 30,000 Ecuadorean villagers who live in a region of Ecuador that suffered environmental pollution as the result of the activities of oil companies from the 1960s to 1990s. These plaintiffs were successful in litigation in Ecuador and obtained a judgement (the “Ecuadorean Judgement”) of US$9.5 billion against Chevron Corporation ("Chevron").

Chevron refused to acknowledge or pay the Ecuadorean Judgement. Chevron has no assets in Ecuador. As a result,...

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