Brazil judge denies injunction against Chevron

Associated Press Published: February 29, 2012
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SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian judge has turned down a request by federal prosecutors to halt all activities in Brazil of San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron Corp. and drilling contractor Transocean Ltd., according to court records posted online Wednesday.

The Feb. 24 ruling came 2 1/2 months after prosecutors filed an injunction against Chevron and Transocean because of environmental harm caused by an oil leak off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in November.

The injunction request, filed late last year by federal prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, was part of a civil lawsuit that sought 20 billion reals ($11.7 billion) in damages.

An official at the prosecutor's office said the court must still decide if Chevron and Transocean must pay the multibillion dollar fine. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the case.

Federal Judge Raffaele Felice Pirro said in his ruling that he saw no evidence that the activities of the two companies represented "real and imminent danger to society," as the prosecutor had argued.

He also said the injunction would punish the two companies before they could defend themselves in court.

It was unclear if prosecutor Oliveira will appeal the judge's ruling.

Pirro said the denial of the injunction was temporary and could be reversed after the two companies are heard and if evidence emerges backing the prosecutor's request.