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As ExxonMobil trial starts, Supreme Court green-lights Baltimore’s Big Oil lawsuit

ExxonMobil headed to federal court in Manhattan yesterday. The State of New York is suing the Big Oil giant on charges that the company misled its investors about the climate crisis. And as Baltimore joins New York, Massachusetts, and other cities and counties in the lawsuit arena, it looks as though Big Oil is going to be spending a lot of time on trial in the future.

Baltimore joins other cities and states in lawsuits that claim the companies are responsible for the climate crisis, and that they have misled investors. The Maryland city says Big Oil has put the city at risk due to rising sea levels.

The Hill reports:

The city of Baltimore’s lawsuit against a group of 26 major oil companies over their role in climate change will proceed after the Supreme Court rejected the energy giants’ request for a stay [yesterday].
The oil companies had asked for the Supreme Court to intervene after a federal judge ruled that Baltimore’s lawsuit could proceed in state court. The companies had sought to move the litigation to federal court in order to avoid potentially expensive litigation.
The group of companies includes BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell.

As Electrek reported on Monday:

On October 10, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office sent a notice to ExxonMobil of their intent to sue the company in civil court for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act “by engaging in unfair or deceptive acts” regarding fossil fuels.

New York’s trial

Regarding the New York ExxonMobil trial, Inside Climate News points out:
The civil case is the first major climate change lawsuit to reach trial in the United States, and it is the culmination of four years of investigation by the New York state attorney general’s office.
The central allegation is that Exxon fraudulently used two sets of books to estimate the risks it faces as governments take steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions: one that was shared with investors and another that was used only internally. The public estimate was higher, suggesting a future with stricter limits on emissions, while the internal figures were lower, reflecting more lenient regulations.
Kevin Wallace, the attorney general’s investor protection bureau’s acting chief, said in his opening statement, “We are not telling Exxon how to run its business. But it has to be honest with investors.” Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is also Exxon’s former chair and chief executive, is expected to appear in court in New York.
Photo credit: Patrick Hendry/Unsplash

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.