At the WSJ Law Blog:
This just in: A federal jury on Monday cleared Chevron Corp. of responsibility for any human rights abuses during a violent protest on a company oil platform in Nigeria a decade ago. Click here for the recent AP story; here for a longer takeout on the case from the WSJ’s Russell Gold.
Human rights groups had sued the company under the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows foreigners to file lawsuits in U.S. courts alleging international law violations.
I highlight these defense-verdict cases not because I think the jurors were right or wrong — I have no idea how I would interpret the evidence, I only know press reports on this case — but to point out that a San Francisco jury, begged for relief by sympathetic, impoverished plaintiffs, sitting in judgment of an immensely profitable defendant that’s part of a hated industry, in consideration of facts that turn the stomach and inflame the passion, nonetheless still held in favor of the defendant.
Keep that in mind the next time some says that dumb jurors just take rich people’s money and throw it at sympathetic plaintiffs. If anyone’s rich, it’s an oil company. If anyone’s sympathetic, it’s an impoverished worker attacked by their own government.