The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mike Meno, Center for Climate Integrity,

Supreme Court Allows Delaware, Hoboken Climate Lawsuits to Go Forward in State Courts

Justices Deny Fossil Fuel Companies’ Petition to Review Lower Court Rulings that Allowed the Two Cases to Proceed in State Courts, Where They Were Filed

Two lawsuits from Delaware and Hoboken, New Jersey, that seek to make major oil and gas corporations pay for climate damages they knowingly caused can continue proceeding toward trial in state court, after the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to consider appeals from the fossil fuel industry.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last year affirmed lower court rulings that allowed the two lawsuits against ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and other fossil fuel companies to proceed in state court, where they were filed. Now that the Supreme Court has denied the companies’ request to review that decision, the cases can continue proceeding toward trial in state court.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court denied fossil fuel industry requests to review similar lower court rulings in climate accountability lawsuits brought by communities in Colorado, Maryland, California, Hawaii, and the State of Rhode Island.

Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement:

“Big Oil companies keep fighting to avoid trials in state courts, where they will be forced to defend their record of climate lies and destruction in front of juries, but federal courts at every level keep rejecting their efforts. The Supreme Court’s decision brings the people of Delaware and Hoboken one step closer to putting these polluters on trial and making them pay for their climate deception. Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for the damages they knowingly caused.”

Background on Climate Accountability Lawsuits Against Big Oil:

Since 2017, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as municipal governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina, have filed lawsuits in state court to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for deceiving the public about their products’ role in climate change. Two cases — from Honolulu and Massachusetts — are already in pretrial discovery, with others close behind.

To date, six federal appeals courts and 13 federal district courts have unanimously ruled against the fossil fuel industry’s arguments to prevent these lawsuits from moving forward in state courts.

In March, the U.S. Justice Department added its support to the communities, urging the Supreme Court to deny ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy’s petition to hear a case brought by three Colorado communities.

The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) helps cities and states across the country hold corporate polluters accountable for the massive impacts of climate change.

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