Having spent time in the energy business upon being released from school for good behavior, I become more convinced by the day that my young'uns would be wise to find another line of work once their respective educations are completed.

That sentiment stems from the horrible tragedy suffered by BP (NYSE: BP) and Transocean (NYSE: RIG) -- and more importantly, their employees -- in the Gulf of Mexico last year, along with BP's ongoing squabbling with its Russian partners at TNK-BP, and ConocoPhillips' (NYSE: COP) recent need to duck raging battles in Libya. In addition, there's been Chevron's (NYSE: CVX) interminable environmental litigation with indigenous citizens of Ecuador who claim that, before it was bought by Chevron, Texaco ravaged their environment through its operations in their country.

As you no doubt recall, an Ecuadorian court last month handed down an $8.6 billion judgment against the company. In reality, that judgment has now jumped to double its original amount, or $18 billion, when a payment to the Amazon Defense Front is included and given Chevron's refusal to issue a public apology. However, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan this week has maintained protection for the company by extending a temporary restraining order he issued last month.

The order prevents enforcement of the damages and thwarts the plaintiffs from undertaking efforts to collect on the Ecuadorian judgment outside of that country, where Chevron essentially has no assets. Judge Kaplan noted that, "Chevron is not a fly-by-night operation about to flee the country." He also pointed out that the company would be able to satisfy any judgment ultimately levied against it.

Following the rendering of Kaplan's decision, the plaintiffs said through a spokesperson:

This decision is a slap in the face to the democratic nation of Ecuador and the thousands of Ecuadorian citizens who have courageously fought for 18 years to hold Chevron accountable for committing the world's worst environmental disaster. The trampling of due process in the court's refusal to consider key evidence or hold a hearing to determine the facts is an inappropriate exercise of judicial power that will harm the United States' relationship with Latin America.

No one appears to know where this interminable case will go now. Most likely, there will be ongoing litigation and a trial that hopefully will determine the merits of the injunction and whether the Ecuadorian judgment is enforceable.

In the meantime, Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company behind ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), has a number of other challenges on its plate, including convincing regulators to allow it to resume work in the deepwater Gulf. It's tough being an oil company these days, but it's not hard to urge Fools to pay close attention to solidly managed Chevron. 

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Chevron is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the above-named companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.