Lawyer Who Won $9.5 Billion settlement Against Chevron Enters Prison


The Guardian

Steven Donziger is swarmed by the media after being found guilty of contempt charges.

Will Carney, Staff Writer

On October 27, 2021, Steven Donziger entered federal prison on charges of contempt in a case which has raised questions about the nature of justice.

In 1993, American attorney Steven Donziger famously sued oil-drilling company Chevron in Ecuador for billions of dollars. The suit claimed that Chevron spilled a large amount of oil into the Amazonian parts of Ecuador which caused detrimental environmental damage and left a toxic mess behind. Donziger fought for over 30,000 people who were affected by this incident as a result of the drilling. 

Donziger ended up winning this legal battle and the Ecuadorian courts awarded $9.5 billion dollars to make up for the irreparable damage. This legal win forced Chevron to stop drilling in this area. 

In response, Chevron filed a counter lawsuit against Donziger in New York City and the judge ruled that the ruling in Ecuador could not be enforced in the United States. As a result, Donziger lost his license to practice law in New York. 

In August of 2019, he was put under house arrest while awaiting trial for charges of criminal contempt which came about during his appeal against the judge’s decision. According to, the judge ruled that Donziger “repeatedly” defied court orders.

After more than two years, in October 2021, Donziger was found guilty of contempt and sentenced to six months in prison. 

There has been an outpouring of support for Donziger because of what many people view as an extremely unjust prison sentence for a man fighting for a good cause.

United States Representative Jim McGovern and a few of his colleagues protested in Washington D.C. for Donziger. 

McGovern spoke out on Twitter in a message directed at Chevron saying, “we will not stand idly by while you bully and intimidate environmental advocates like @Sdonziger (Steven Donziger) who expose your corruption, greed and lies.” 

Donziger will keep on fighting this battle and said, “I am being jailed because the oil industry is scared of our movement.”