* Scientist says court report contains bogus claim
* Plaintiffs “bewildered” by scientist’s testimony
* Pollution liability could be $27 bln for Chevron (Adds plaintiff’s response)
NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - Lawyers suing Chevron Corp CVX.N filed bogus oil pollution reports to the Ecuadorean court that is hearing the multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the oil company, Chevron said on Monday.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers falsely claimed that U.S. biologist Charles W. Calmbacher filed reports stating that pollution at two sites posed a risk to human health, Chevron said in a statement, quoting a deposition from Calmbacher conducted on March 29.
The allegations, first published in the Wall Street Journal, are the latest twist in the legal fight in which residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region are suing Chevron for damages that could total $27 billion from pollution caused by Texaco Corp, which Chevron bought in 2001.
The Washington-based Amazon Defense Coalition, which represents the plaintiffs, issued a statement saying that Chevron’s own reports from the wells in question show illegal levels of contamination.
“Dr. Calmbacher clearly agreed to have his signature placed on materials, including reports, that were to be submitted to the court, and he acknowledged he was actively reviewing the reports with our local, technical team,” the statement said. “We are bewildered, frankly, at his testimony.”
Last month, a judge in New York said Chevron could pursue an international arbitration claim in the case. (Reporting by Matt Daily in New York, Hugh Bronstein in Bogota; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Leslie Gevirtz)
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