Ninth Circuit Remands State Torts Against Fossil Fuel Companies back to Lower Courts

Fossil-fuel companies may have had the high pollutant wind knocked out of them for the time being, having been dealt another blow in the Federal courts as a number lawsuits filed by cities and counties in California were remanded to the state courts.

Here is a refresher:

In 2017, three California cities (Marin, San Mateo, and Imperial Beach) filed complaints in the state court citing more than 30 energy companies – alleging that the “extraction, refining, and/or formulation of fossil fuel products; their introduction of fossil fuel products into the stream of commerce; their wrongful promotion of their fossil fuel products and concealment of known hazards associated with use of those products; and their failure to pursue less hazardous alternatives available” led to measurable climate changes including an increase in the mean temperature as well as rising sea levels.

The energy companies responded by removing the complaints from the state court and handing it to the federal courts, citing subject-matter jurisdictional issues. The County of Santa Cruz, the City of Santa Cruz, and the City of Richmond filed similar complaints with the California state court and the energy companies responded in the same manner.

The district court rejected the energy companies actions yet gave them the opportunity to appeal – which they did. And lost again as the cases have been remanded to the state court.“Based on these allegations, the complaints assert causes of action for public and private nuisance, strict liability for failure to warn, strict liability for design defect, negligence, negligent failure to warn, and trespass,”  wrote Ninth Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta with her written opinion.

One key issue is the Clean Air Act (CAA) which, according to the Ninth Circuit, puts the burden on states for those cites who want to pursue nuisance claims. Initially enacted in the 1970’s, the CAA is a federal law regulating air emissions from stationary and mobile sources – and authorizes the EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollution.

One thing is certain – we can expect to see state-climate torts against fossil fuel companies to continue.

RealDealDocs will be profiling energy companies with regard to their corporate origin and history. RealDealDocs members can read actual agreements in our database as well as a comprehensive review of press releases of corporate information.

Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation. One of the successor companies of Standard Oil, it is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries.

Here are some documents in our RealDealDocs database from Chevron:

Chevron Branded Marketer Agreement


Statement Of Resolution

Statement Of Resolution Establishing Series Of Shares Designated Series B Contingent Convertible Preferred Stock Of Contango Oil & Gas Company for CONTANGO OIL & GAS CO, CONTANGO OIL & GAS COMPANY

Northwest Oil & Gas Trading Company, Inc. 10-Q

Northwest Oil & Gas Trading Company, Inc. 10-Q for NORTHWEST OIL & GAS TRADING COMPANY, INC.