U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Judge Dismisses Case Against Chevron for Allegedly Aiding Terrorists

Aiding and abetting go together. Terrorism and kickbacks, not so much.

Together, they added up to no liability in Brill v. Chevron Corporation. A federal judge said the lawsuit did not link kickbacks from Chervon to Saddam Hussein to the plaintiffs' injuries.

The judge said there was "compelling evidence" the oil company paid illegal kickbacks to Iraq for cheap oil, but it was not the same as supporting terrorism.

Anti-Terrorism Act

Baruch Yehuda Ziv Brill and 328 other plaintiffs sued Chevron, alleging the company funded Hussein's attacks on Israel. They said the company bought more than 79 million barrels of oil at a discount, and $20 million went to a slush fund for terrorist groups.

The plaintiffs said the kickbacks were part of a much larger slush fund. U.S. Judge James Donato said they didn't make a "direct connection," and had to allege more than Chevron "contributed to an evil empire."

"There is no plausible allegation that money from Chevron ever reached the terrorists in Israel," Donato said.

He said "simply engaging in illegal financing dealings" was not enough to establish proximate cause under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Aiding and Abetting

The judge dismissed the ATA claims, but gave the plaintiffs one more chance to amend. He dismissed with prejudice claims under the Alien Tort Statute.

Donato also dismissed claims that Chevron aided and abetted terrorism. He said they plaintiffs did not allege the company "knowingly" support suicide bombers.

According to Courthouse News, Chevron paid $30 million to settle a lawsuit with the SEC over the kickback scheme.

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