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Article

4 Aug 2020

Author:
Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News

USA: Court of appeal denies company request to rehear case over state courts' jurisdiction in climate change lawsuit

"No Rehearing in Appeal Over Big Oil’s Liability for Climate Change", 4 August 2020.

The Ninth Circuit...refused to reconsider a thorny jurisdictional issue that could allow the world’s largest energy companies to be held liable for climate change in state court. The Ninth Circuit denied a request for an en banc rehearing in three lawsuits brought by two California counties and one city claiming the fuel companies created a public nuisance by hiding for nearly 50 years that fossil fuel production was heating and damaging the earth...After the cases were removed to federal court, the local governments fought to remand them back to state court, arguing state law claims of public nuisance should be decided by California’s judicial system...

In March 2018, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria remanded the cases, finding a state court should decide if the state-law public-nuisance claims are pre-empted by federal law. In May, a unanimous three-judge Ninth Circuit panel upheld Chhabria’s ruling...Writing for the majority, U.S. Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected the oil companies’ argument that because they provided fuel to the U.S. government through service contracts, they were “acting under” a federal officer’s directions...

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