TORONTO -- Lawyers for a group of Ecuadorian villagers present their side today in a multi-billion-dollar case in a Toronto courtroom.

The villagers want a Canadian court to enforce a $19 billion judgment awarded in their country against multinational oil giant Chevron Corporation.

The case got off to a rocky start yesterday, with an Ontario judge openly skeptical about the proposition of going after Chevron's assets in Canada.

Justice David Brown noted an Ontario court should not even think about weighing in unless there had been a final judgment in the South American country -- and no one was able to persuade him there was one.

The award to the villagers was made in Ecuador for black sludge contamination of a rainforest between 1972 and 1990 by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001.

Chevron maintains it won't pay because it contends Texaco dealt with the problem before it was bought.

The Ecuadorians launched similar legal actions in Brazil and Argentina, where a judge froze Chevron's assets in Argentina until the settlement is collected.