The documentary Crude helped to create public awareness and popular support for the law suit by Ecuadorian plaintiffs against Chevron for environmental damages, leading to an $18 billion judgment in Ecuador against Chevron. Chevron’s attorneys noticed a slight discrepancy between the film shown at Sundance and the DVD of the film that was eventually released. A physician who was later a part of an independent environmental analysis team was deleted from a scene at the plaintiffs’ lawyer’s request. Based on this discrepancy, Chevron was granted discovery to access all out-takes from the documentary footage to look for other inconsistencies. Because of damning statements made by the plaintiffs’ attorney in the raw footage, a federal judge ordered unprecedented access to basically all of the attorney’s work product. The ultimate result is a federal racketeering case against the plaintiffs’ attorney and questions about whether the Ecuadorian plaintiffs will be able to collect on the award. To read more about this story, see the New Yorker article Reversal of Fortune.
To watch the DVD of Crude, look for it in the reserve area VC-C033.