And it could fuel political efforts at home to rein in corporate bad behavior.
"If you're running up these kinds of profits, why would you let a case like this go to trial in the first place?" Watts asked.
Chevron officials did not return calls for comment.
Chevron is also facing another landmark trial in Ecuador, where Texaco (which Chevron bought in 2001) is being sued for billions of dollars to compensate for widespread environmental degradation of sensitive rainforests from its oil extraction efforts there, a case in which US courts have refused Chevron's requests to intervene.
Will this perfect storm lead to reform? That depends on the social movements and the political leadership that takes office in January.
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