In an interesting turn of events U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp’s lawsuit against the Attorney General of NY and Massachusetts on the grounds of Exxon’s arguments being “implausible”.
In a setback to U.S oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp, a federal judge has dismissed its lawsuit seeking to stop Massachusetts and New York from probing whether the oil and gas company covered up its knowledge on climate change and lied to investors and the public about it.
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan rejected as “implausible” Exxon’s argument that the attorneys for Maura Healey and Eric Schneiderman, were pursuing politically motivated investigations that were prejudiced and based on bad faith, violating its constitutional rights.
While dismissing Exxon Mobil’s lawsuit U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said, the Irving, Texas-based company cannot bring it again.
As a result Exxon is evaluating its legal options, said Exxon Mobil’s spokesman Scott Silvestri. We believe the risk of climate change is real and we want to be part of the solution. We’ve invested about $8 billion on energy efficiency and low-emission technologies such as carbon capture and next generation biofuels.”
The case, one of several, revolves around the issue whether Exxon Mobil has lied for decades regarding what it knew about climate change including its impact on energy prices, its ability to develop reserves; the public positions that it took appear to be inconsistent with what it knew.
Welcoming the dismissal Schneiderman said in a statement, Exxon’s “frivolous, nonsensical lawsuit that wrongfully attempted to thwart a serious state law enforcement investigation,” has met its logical end.
Healey called Caproni’s decision “a turning point in our investigation and a victory for the people.”
Having received subpoenas regarding handing over of documents about its historical understanding of climate change, and communications with interest groups and shareholders in June 2016, Exxon sued accusing both, Schneiderman and Healey, of conspiring to “silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate,” violating its rights to free speech and due process and against unreasonable searches.
Significantly, Caproni said “nothing that was said can fairly be read to constitute declaration of a political vendetta against Exxon.” In a interesting turn of events, she said, in fact Exxon “apparently” shared Schneiderman and Healey’s belief that climate change is real; however, this does not necessarily mean that they have no reason to believe that Exxon may have fraudulently “sowed confusion” to bolster its bottom line.
The case is Exxon Mobil Corp et al v Schneiderman et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-02301.