Judge Halts Any Ecuadorean Award Against Chevron

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge in New York has temporarily blocked the ability of Ecuadorean plaintiffs to collect any court award against Chevron for damage done to their land decades ago.

Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan cited evidence of an effort to disrupt Chevron's business in the event there is an award as a reason Tuesday to grant a temporary restraining order against the collection of any judgment.

A court-appointed expert in Ecuador has recommended that Chevron pay up to $27 billion for environmental damages and related illnesses.

The unusual ruling by Kaplan came in an 18-year-old litigation over claims filed on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadoreans. The lawsuit alleged they are victims of environmental damage due to oil exploration and extraction.