Litigation

LITIGATION

States, towns, and cities are litigating against fossil fuel companies for knowingly accelerating global warming. Kids are litigating against the federal government for endangering their futures. Investors are litigating against corporations for putting the value of their stock in jeopardy. Employees are suing corporations for deceiving them about climate change. Climate protesters are suing to preserve their rights to civil disobedience.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a social justice issue, too. It is important to recognize that the people most affected by climate change are often those who have contributed least to its progression. People are recognizing that environmental mismanagement and obstruction of climate action are an infringement on their rights.

MakeThemPay - NY vs ExxonMobil

CREDIT: 350.org

CURRENT NEWS

Big Oil Is Weaponizing The First Amendment

By Emily Sanders 01/10/24
For years, the fossil fuel industry has maintained that the First Amendment protects its right to mislead the public about the climate crisis, but that criticism and protest of its operations violates the law. Now,…
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Pepco to pay D.C. more than $57 million for Anacostia River pollution

By Justin Wm. Moyer 10/03/23
Pepco will pay more than $57 million to the District after the electric utility discharged toxic chemicals in the city for decades, polluting the Anacostia River and other areas.
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California opens the floodgates on Big Oil

09/18/23
The state of California just launched a game-changing climate lawsuit against oil majors, bringing the weight of one of the world’s largest economies and the most populous state in the nation to bear against some…
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API, State of Louisiana, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Challenge Lease Sale 261 Final Notice of Sale

08/24/23
The American Petroleum Institute (API) today joined with the State of Louisiana and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in filing a challenge to the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Management’s (BOEM) Final Notice of…
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Maui is suing Big Oil

08/15/23
The county is seeking to recover the costs of climate-fueled disasters Big Oil knowingly caused — including increasingly destructive wildfires.
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Feds urge judge to reject flood insurance program challenge by Florida, other states

By Jim Saunders 08/10/23
The Biden administration this week urged a federal judge to reject a challenge by Florida and other states to an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program that has led to higher premiums for many…
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DOJ: Toss states’ lawsuit over flood insurance rates

By Thomas Frank 08/09/23
The federal government is asking a Louisiana judge to throw out a potentially momentous lawsuit that would stop millions of people from being forced to pay higher rates for federal flood insurance.
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Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review

07/27/23
Climate litigation represents a frontier solution to change the dynamics of the fight against climate change. This Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review shows that people are increasingly turning to the courts to combat…
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She’s on a Mission From God: Suing Big Oil for Climate Damages

By David Gelles 07/19/23
Missy Sims carefully picked her way through a field of ruined tombs in central Puerto Rico, in a cemetery where walls of water from Hurricane Maria had smashed open some coffins and sent others careering…
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9th Circuit upholds Interior approval of massive lithium mine

By Niina H. Farah 07/18/23
A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the Interior Department’s approval of a contested lithium mine in northern Nevada, angering environmentalists even as supporters said it was a victory for batteries in electric vehicles.
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Federal Government Evades Responsibility for Cleaning up Alaska Native Lands

07/18/23
Today, Federal District Court Judge Holland dismissed the State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s case against the United States for the Department of Interior (DOI)’s failure to clean up Alaska…
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Alaska Governor Dunleavy Turns to Courts to Compel Feds to Address Contaminated Lands Conveyed under ANCSA

07/15/23
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said Alaska has exhausted all options before filing a complaint today in U.S. District Court to compel the U.S. government to take responsibility for and address contaminated sites that it conveyed…
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KEY RESOURCES

U.S Climate Change Litigation

12/04/23
This website provides two databases of climate change litigation: (1) a U.S. Climate Change Litigation database and (2) a Global Climate Change Litigation database, which includes all cases except those in the U.S.

The UCS Science Hub for Climate Litigation

10/06/20
Resources and Opportunities for Experts

THE WAR ON SCIENCE

04/25/20
Science is under siege. Anti-science groups and individuals seek to delegitimize, interfere with, and undermine facts and evidence that threaten their financial interests and ideological beliefs. Aggressive legal action, harassment, and even death threats are…

U.S. Climate Change Litigation

02/10/20
Cases in the U.S. database are organized by type of claim and may be filtered by the principal laws they address, their filing years, and their jurisdictions. The database is also searchable by keyword. In many cases, the database…

9 major climate change cases that could shape the fight to save the planet

01/23/20
Cases brought by an array of plaintiffs—among them children, state and local governments, farmers and environmental associations—target the Trump administration, fossil fuel giants and other alleged perpetrators of climate damage. Check out these major climate…

12 Legal Tools to Push Climate Preparedness

12/16/19
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. Here are 12 ways the law can help society cope with these impacts. ...

Lawyers are unleashing a flurry of lawsuits to step up the fight against climate change

11/01/19
The issue of climate change, which has been slowly winding its way through the legal system for the past two decades, recently took a high-profile detour. Traditionally relegated to the statutory realm of environmental and…

League of Conservation Voters v. Trump

11/22/19
Challenge to executive order reversing President Obama’s withdrawal of lands in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from future oil and gas leasing.

MORE NEWS

Court says EPA erred in blocking agency grantees from serving on its boards

By Rebecca Beitsch   04/15/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot bar recipients of its own grants from serving on agency boards, a New York district court ruled Wednesday. The court is the latest to side with scientists who were…
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Honolulu Sues Petroleum Companies For Climate Change Damages to City

By David Hasemyer   03/10/20  
The city’s lawsuit cites the industry’s concealing of science that predicted catastrophic consequences for the continued burning of fossil fuels.
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Landmark Win for 5 Extinction Rebellion Activists Who Used Necessity Defense

By Common Dreams   03/02/20  
By Jake JohnsonEnvironmentalists celebrated a landmark victory in the "fight for a habitable future" after a Portland, Oregon jury on Thursday refused to convict five Extinction...
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Judge voids nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases, saying Trump policy undercut public input

By Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears   02/29/20  
A federal judge in Idaho has voided nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases on federal lands in the West, saying that a Trump administration policy that limited public input on those leases…
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Coke and Pepsi sued for creating a plastic pollution ‘nuisance’

By Erin McCormick   02/27/20  
Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé and other large companies are being sued by a California environmental group for creating a plastic pollution “nuisance” and misleading consumers about the recyclability of plastic.
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EDF Asks D.C. Circuit to Uphold FERC Energy Storage Order

By Sharyn Stein   02/10/20  
EDF is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to uphold an order that permits energy storage to compete fairly in wholesale power markets.
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DOJ drops antitrust probe into automakers that want cleaner cars

By Sean O'Kane   02/07/20  
The Department of Justice has closed an antitrust investigation into Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW over a vehicle emissions deal with California that reportedly “enraged” President Trump, The New York Times reports. The DOJ ultimately…
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Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions

By Coral Davenport   02/07/20  
The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four automakers that had sided with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over reducing climate-warming vehicle pollution, deciding that the companies had violated no…
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Tenth Circuit Court Strikes Down EPA Small Refinery Exemptions

01/27/20  
In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit late…
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First Solar Settles Shareholder Suit for $350M

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   01/06/20  
First Solar will pay out $350 million in claims for a class action lawsuit filed in 2012, according to a Monday announcement from the Arizona-based solar panel manufacturer.
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2020: A Year of Pipeline Court Fights, with One Lawsuit Headed to the Supreme Court

By Phil McKenna   01/03/20  
After years of mounting opposition to the increasing build-out of oil and gas infrastructure, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that pipeline opponents get their day in court.
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Judge allows California’s shift to energy saving light bulbs

By Don Thompson   01/01/20  
A federal judge on Tuesday allowed California’s updated light bulb efficiency standards to take effect with the new year. U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association…
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Energy Cases To Watch In 2020

01/01/20  
Climate change will take center stage in energy-related courtroom battles in 2020, with fossil fuel companies and the federal government in the hot seat for their alleged roles in exacerbating climate change and for the…
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2019: The Year Climate Litigation Hit High Gear

By Karen Savage   12/30/19  
One of the busiest years yet for climate litigation, 2019 was highlighted by favorable decisions handed down by some of the world’s highest courts.
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Massachusetts’ Climate Suit Vs. Exxon Belongs in State Court, AG Argues

By Karen Savage   12/26/19  
Massachusetts’ climate fraud case against Exxon belongs in state court because it alleges only violations of Massachusetts consumer protection law, according to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The AG made its latest arguments to keep…
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Fossil Fuel Companies Begin to Acknowledge Climate Litigation Threatens Their Bottom Line

By Dana Drugmand   12/23/19  
Fossil fuel companies facing climate-related litigation are starting to acknowledge in their financial disclosure forms that these legal challenges could harm their business.
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The Clean Water Case of the Century

11/06/19  
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui. The fate of the nation’s clean water hangs in the balance.
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Climate Change And Insurance: Insurers’ Subrogation Claims

07/12/19  
This is the fifth of six articles addressing climate change lawsuits in the context of (re)insurance.
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Question back in court: What’s the best way to cut emissions?

By Ellen M. Gilmer   06/20/19  
A who's who of high-powered lawyers appeared in court in 2016 to debate the meaning of "best system of emission reduction," a technical Clean Air Act term that steers EPA's response to climate change.
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In Courtrooms, Climate Change Is No Longer Up for Debate

By Isabella Kaminski   06/17/19  
Climate science now often goes unchallenged in lawsuits seeking to curb fossil fuel use and hold companies to account.
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Montana judge rules PSC intentionally set PURPA rates to kill solar projects

By Catherine Morehouse   04/08/19  
A Montana district court judge last week issued an order in favor of solar developers, ruling that the state's Public Service Commission intentionally disadvantaged small solar projects in violation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies…
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U.S. regulator rules out Exxon shareholder vote on climate resolution

04/02/19  
Exxon Mobil Corp is not required to let its shareholders vote on setting greenhouse gas targets, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday, agreeing with the company’s request to reject the proposal.
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Northern Fights

By Rebecca Cohen   03/28/19  
By land and by sea, America’s Arctic is under attack.
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ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Pivot Speaks Volumes about Shareholder Activism

By Tina Casey   02/26/19  
Pension funds and other big-dollar investors have long been challenging fossil fuel companies on climate change. In response, some have stepped up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil is one of the holdouts,…
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Baltimore Sues 26 Fossil Fuels Companies Over Climate Change

By David Hasemyer and Nicholas Kusnetz   07/20/18  
The city’s waterfront revitalization has become a model for urban development, but sea level rise and extreme weather are putting its future at risk.
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Native Americans Sue Frackers Over Manmade Earthquakes

By Ross Kenneth Urken   07/06/17  
Oklahoma has become one of the world’s most notorious earthquake hubs. In fact, in 2014 for the first time, the number of magnitude 3 or greater quakes in the state surpassed California’s total.
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Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

By Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer   09/16/15  
Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions
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How climate protesters are defending their civil disobedience–and winning in court

By Alice Cherry   11/12/18  
As more protesters use direct action–like blocking pipeline construction with their bodies–they’re winning more court cases by saying the dire nature of climate change justifies their actions.
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Children’s Climate Lawsuit Heads to Trial: Court Rejects Trump Attempt to Block It

By Nicholas Kusnetz   07/03/18  
In 2015, 21 youths sued the US government claiming that the government's failure to act on climate change mitigation had threatened their constitutional rights. In March 2018, a federal appeals court rejected Trump's attempt to…
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Trump Administration Files Another Set of Appeals to Stop Kids Climate Case

By Dana Drugmand   11/26/18  
Despite continual rejections of its many appeals to stop the landmark youth climate case Juliana v. United States, the Trump administration is continuing its effort to thwart the trial. It filed a new set of…
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Former Shell Employee Challenges Pension Fund Over Climate Risks

By Ucilia Wang   11/26/18  
A former Shell employee in the United Kingdom is challenging the managers of the company’s pension fund to prove they are protecting the fund’s beneficiaries by adequately managing climate risks in their investment decisions.
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Exxon Loses 2nd Shot At Slipping Investors’ Climate Suit

By Bonnie Eslinger   11/26/18  
The brief order from U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade provides no explanation for the court’s decision other than to say it was made “(a)fter carefully considering [Exxon’s] motion,” the investor plaintiffs’ response, the company’s reply,…
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Supreme Court Rejects White House Move To Block Teens’ Climate Change Lawsuit

By Mary Papenfuss   11/26/18  
The Supreme Court has refused a Trump administration application to halt an intriguing climate change lawsuit filed by a group of young people against the U.S. government.
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Why Is the U.S. Government So Motivated to Avoid the Kids’ Climate Case?

By Karen Savage   11/26/18  
Although their case remains on hold while the Supreme Court reviews a last-ditch, extraordinary motion by the Trump Administration, the 21 young plaintiffs in the landmark climate suit Juliana v. United States have already taken…
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Fossil Fuels on Trial: Where the Major Climate Change Lawsuits Stand Today

By David Hasemyer   11/25/18  
Some of the biggest oil and gas companies are embroiled in legal disputes with cities, states and children over the industry's role in global warming.
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New York attorney general sues Exxon for climate fraud

By Ucilia Wang   11/24/18  
New York filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil on Wednesday, alleging that the company has deceived investors for years by deliberately downplaying the climate risks to its business and long-term financial health.
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California to Fight ‘Unlawful’ Trump Fuel Economy Rollback

By John Lippert   11/24/18  
Trump plan won’t save lives, attorney general tells reporters. State will join 18 others in opposition to plan in filing.
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Judge Denies Government Motions to Dismiss Youth Climate Case

By Karen Savage   11/24/18  
The federal judge presiding over the landmark youth-led climate lawsuit has given the green light for the case to proceed to trial. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken denied motions filed earlier this year by the…
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Richmond Becomes Latest California City to File Climate Lawsuit

By Dana Drugmand   11/24/18  
Richmond, Calif., became the latest community on Monday to file suit against 29 fossil fuel companies, seeking monetary damages to pay for costs of adapting to climate change. It is the latest in a wave…
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California passes law barring restaurants from automatically offering plastic straws

By Katie Pyzyk   10/20/18  
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law (AB 1884) barring full-service restaurants throughout the state from providing plastic straws, unless a customer asks for one. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Restaurants…
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