In a class action complaint, former employees of Occidental Petroleum, who are also citizens of Ecuador, are suing the company, alleging they are owed more than $265 million from a statutory profit sharing plan.
Juan Carlos Cisneros, Wilson Fernando Achachi Seileman, Miguel Angel Romero Gallardo and Esbar Estalin Paz and more than a dozen other former workers filed a lawsuit Feb. 22 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Occidental Exploration and Production Company.
According to the suit, the laws of the Republic of Ecuador require Occidental to pay 15 percent of its profits each year to the class as a statutory profit sharing plan. Around 2006, Ecuador terminated Occidental’s oil concessions in that country. The lawsuit states Occidental then terminated the class members without paying the 15 percent, contending it had lost money due to the government’s termination of its concessions.
An international arbitration panel awarded Occidental $1,769,625, which was found to be the discounted value of the cash flows Occidental would have realized had the concessions not been terminated–plus interest at the rate of 4.5 percent, according to the lawsuit. Occidental has yet to pay the required 15 percent to the petitioners, the suit says.
The plaintiffs seek $265,444,750, plus pre- and post-judgment interest as well as attorney fees, litigation costs and any other relief available under law, plus a jury trial.
The petitioners are represented by attorney Michael D. Sydow of The Sydow Firm in Houston.