Herrera Rios et al. V. Dow Chemical et al.

RG 19/04112 / N° Portalis 352J-W-B7D-CPRJ6
November 5, 2018
Final judgment
France, Paris

Farm/rural workers, Individuals
1248 nicaraguayan farm workers
Dow Chemical, Shell Oil Company, Occidental Chemical (Oxy)
Tony Lopez, Stuart Smith, Robert McKee, Pierre-Olivier Sur, Clara Gérard-Rodriguez

Civil court
DBCP, Nemagon, Fumazone
To enforce in France a decision of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua in favor of agricultural workers exposed to DBCP.
Judicial Court of Paris, France

May 11, 2022
Declares most of the plaintiffs inadmissible for lack of standing; Dismisses the others of their claims ; Declares unenforceable on French territory the judgment handed down by the Second Civil Court of Chinandega (Republic of Nicaragua) on December 1, 2006, as well as the confirmatory judgment of the Court of Appeal of León er of August 5, 2010 and the judgments handed down by the Supreme Court of Justice of Nicaragua on August 18, 2011, June 21, 2012 and November 19, 2013.
No description

On May 11, 2022, the Judicial Court of Paris rejected the exequatur request of 1,248 Nicaraguan workers, victims of the nematicide dibromo-chloropropane (DBCP), to force the three companies, Shell, Dow Chemical and Occidental Chemical (now Oxy), to respect the rulings handed down by the Nicaraguan Supreme Court, which ordered them to pay compensation for the bodily injuries suffered by the claimants. The victims summoned the companies to appear before the Paris Judicial Court on December 26, 2018, as the companies have withdrawn their assets from Nicaragua.

To grant exequatur outside any international convention, the Tribunal had to ensure that 3 conditions were met: (1) the indirect competence of the foreign judge, based on the connection of the dispute to the judge seized, (2) compliance with international public policy on substance and procedure and (3) absence of fraud with the law.

In this case, the jurisdiction of the Nicaraguan judge is lacking. Pursuant to article 7 of Special Law no. 364 on the conduct of proceedings brought by victims of the use of DBPC-based pesticides (adopted October 5, 2020), the Court stated that the defendant companies had the choice of pursuing the proceedings in Nicaragua by paying the security deposit provided for in article 4 of Special Law no. 364, or exercising their right to opt out by submitting unconditionally to the jurisdiction of the American courts. As the companies had not paid the required security deposit, they could not be tried by the Nicaraguan judge.

The victims' lawyers plan to appeal the decision.