Group argues Cali municipalities targeting Texas businesses with climate change litigation
While California municipalities bringing climate change lawsuits argue Texas courts lack jurisdiction over litigation brought by ExxonMobil, one group is arguing that their suits are “actually part of a coordinated, nationwide campaign targeting Texas businesses.”
Exxon’s legal fight to pull back the curtain on the authors of climate change litigation is currently before the Texas Supreme Court.
The oil giant’s petition for review asserts the California municipalities and Matthew Pawa, a Massachusetts lawyer, are attempting to chill speech and commandeer public policy, subjecting them to personal jurisdiction in Texas courts.
Exxon claims Pawa, who is pursuing many of the cases on a contingency fee, recruits state attorneys general and applies the “Big Tobacco playbook” to sue in order “to suppress the speech of Texas-based energy companies.”
In their merit brief, the California municipalities argue that Exxon’s “threatened First Amendment claim” is “meritless”
Furthermore, Pawa’s merit brief states: “If Texas is to avoid becoming a haven for the worst kind of forum shopping, jurisdiction in cases like this one should be rejected.”
On Feb. 10, Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) filed an amicus brief in support of Exxon, stating that it first became interested in the case after reading Pawa’s and the municipalities’ briefs and that through its work seeking public records, it “has become aware that the actions at issue in this case … are actually part of a coordinated, nationwide campaign targeting Texas businesses…”
“These public records from numerous institutions across the country demonstrate without ambiguity the common origins and principals, the definitive links and private coordination in underwriting and recruiting governments to file suit against Texas companies, ‘nationwide,’” EPA’s brief states. “Records show the intermediaries then recruit law faculty, attorneys general and municipal plaintiffs, to claim billions of dollars of losses at these parties’ hands, in a multi-front campaign seeking to extract hundreds of billions of dollars for distribution to political constituencies, as well as influence national policy.
“The instant matter represents an attempt by a Texas business to protect itself from this nationwide litigation campaign which is targeting Texas’ interests.”
EPA is asking the Supreme Court to conclude that Texas courts “have the power to protect Texas businesses when their rights are threatened by improper use of the courts in other states to extract revenue from Texas.”