CASE DISMISSED – Federal Judge puts the final nail in the coffin of California’ ‘Global Warming Lawsuit’ against oil companies

From the “It’s dead Jim” department comes this ruling from the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

Some excerpts of the ruling:

The question is therefore whether or not plaintiffs’ alleged harm — namely, the effects of global warming-induced sea level rise — would have occurred even absent each defendant’s respective California-related activities. It is manifest that global warming would have continued in the absence of all California-related activities of defendants. Plaintiffs have therefore failed to adequately link each defendants’ alleged California activities to plaintiffs’ harm.

As earlier orders have pointed out, plaintiffs’ nuisance claims depend on a global complex of geophysical cause and effect involving all nations of the planet. Ocean rise, as far as plaintiffs contend, would have occurred even without regard to each defendant’s California contacts.

Lacking, however, is a causal chain sufficiently connecting plaintiffs’ harm and defendants’ California activities.

Finally, plaintiffs advocate for a less stringent standard of “but for” causation in light of the liability rules underlying public nuisance claims. Such an argument has been rejected by our court of appeals, which has instructed that “liability is not to be conflated with amenability to suit in a particular forum.”

For the same reasons discussed above, however, plaintiffs do not satisfy this third requirement. Even taking plaintiffs’ allegations as true, they have failed to show that BP or Royal Dutch Shell’s national conduct was a “but for” cause of their harm.

For the reasons stated above, defendants’ motions to dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(2) are GRANTED.

You can read the court order here:


97 thoughts on “CASE DISMISSED – Federal Judge puts the final nail in the coffin of California’ ‘Global Warming Lawsuit’ against oil companies

  1. I fear these types of suits will continue to be filed in whatever jurisdiction or level goofy enough to accept them. Sort of like the scene from The Terminator: “I’ll be back.”

      • There are measures, but courts very rarely apply them.
        Courts, being made up of lawyers are loath to interfere with another lawyer’s ability to generate an income.

        • Barrators are doomed to the eighth circle of hell where there will be some catastrophic warming with luck.

          ‘Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate’

          • Been a while since I have seen a quote from Dante’s ” Divine Comedy”.
            Thank you Nigel Sherratt


        • That is not true. The courts can demand preview of the cases. They can also demand posted bond estimated by defendants legal fees of defense since plaintiffs are likely to lose.

          • Re-read my post. I stated that there are methods, it’s just that they are rarely used.
            To refute this, you post one of the methods that are rarely used.

          • ” The courts can demand preview of the cases”

            yes, but will they? As MarkW points out, the measures don’t do a lot of good if they aren’t actually used.

      • The bogus lawsuit against linux, based on copyright law, by a former distributor of linux (so it was a self attack anyway), went as far as claiming that copyright law, the basis of the lawsuit, was unconstitutional (so the claimant went as far as claiming he had no claim). That lawsuit based on exactly nothing, with arguments voiding it, and claiming that the claimant broke the law, was allowed to live to years.

    • In future any favourable judgement by an ‘activist’ judge will be overturned on appeal.
      Potential liability of cal. defendants was miniscule in any event. Only Exxon makes it into the big-8 at a measly 4%:
      Aramco 14%; Gazprom 8.5%; Nat Iranian 8.5%; Qatar Pet 5%; Rosneft 5%; Abu Dhabi Nat 5%; Petrochina 5%; ExxonMobil 4%.
      City attorneys Dennis Herrera (San Fran) and Barbara Parker (Oak.) are even bigger fools than Pat Parenteau (professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School) who was and still is ill-advising the plaintiffs as part of a mobster like extortion-racket headed by lawyer Steve Berman (Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro):

      • By the way, you won’t find any NEWS of Alsup’s dismissal on Steve Berman’s website!
        Too funny . . .

    • It’s called “Lawfare” … legal warfare. A waste of $$ and time. Our legal system has become a giant papier-mâché puppet in the political theatre of the eco-leftists. A pox on all their houses, and the Foundations that fund them.

      • Except that the defendants file a complaint of combative litigant and demand bond posted by litigant in advance, given their likelihood to lose. Millions in bond costs. Then upon losing, the defendants file to demand reimbursement of all legal costs, to the tune of millions. So it is going to take $10 million a case to file, which is going to slow it down quickly. This is not a complicit EPA refusing to defend litigation and reimbursing litigants all costs to file more cases with recycled money. Billionaire deep pockets are going to have to open up. Else this approach is quickly going away.

    • They will continue only so long as they are not assessed for all court and defense costs, as well as punitive damages for filing an obviously frivolous lawsuit.
      Accountability and Responsibility are what it is all about.

  2. — would have occurred even absent each defendant’s respective California-related activities.

    and so with the rest of the world

    • I gave up trying to explain this to my Prius-driving friends who have all recently given up plastic straws. Unless they are willing to tackle the pollution problems of China and India, they are doing nothing but virtue signaling.

      However, (because of their upbringing a Protestant-based culture?) they are convinced that they must do some sort of personal penance for sins against The Earth- as long as their penance isn’t too inconvenient or bothersome.

      When I tried to explain that plastic straws are just a tiny part of American-caused plastic pollution, and that the U.S. is only responsible for something like 2 percent of all the plastic pollution of the oceans, they fell back on the “every little bit helps” position…

  3. OH, the West Coast logic. If California was so certain the oil companies gas stations and natural gas pipelines were deadly, why didn’t the state shut them down?

      • Well… there’s an argument to be made that (generally speaking and excluding Florida) the East Coast is saner and more logical than the west Coast. You see, America has traditionally been settled by misfits who could not make a decent living or get along with the authorities in power in their homelands, it was off to America. Also note that America has historically been settled from the East Coast outward to the West.

        People who were only mildly maladjusted settled in the East, with those who couldn’t fit in there continuing to move westward until they found a place sparsely populated enough to tolerate their eccentricities. However, the Pacific Ocean halted even those too odd to fit in with the culture there. So, they stayed and bred generations of misfits and eccentrics on the West Coast. Obviously the same is true of Florida, simply substituting the name of the limiting bodies of water.

    • Yeah, what damages did the oil companies cause? As far as I can see, the cities are suing for “future” damages, which haven’t happened yet (or ever).

      • I know for certain that some time or another in the future, one of my descendants will suffer some sort of damage, and I want compensation for it NOW!

        The Logic of Liberalism: Absurd

        • If that kind of argument worked, I’d be demanding an advance on my life insurance policy. 😉

          • Well are certain to die someday. It would definitely help you to have the payout now so you could live comfortably now.

  4. where are the detractors to claim this is only focused on the state of California, and therefore isn’t included in the global courts network? No, this is a one off!

    what a sigh of relief! The tide is turning and me thinks the public is growing weary of this nonsense.

  5. What does anyone know about Trumps new science man Kelvin Droegemeier? Seems he knows his weather and is well respected across parties.

  6. Sadly, this is methodology that has worked for so long with the environmentalist that it will continue. They will learn, albeit and hopefully slowly from this court proceedings. They will continue venue shop until they get at least one court to rule in their favor. The “good news” will then be that we have two different court rulings and if in different states that means just how much faster it will get to the Supreme Court.

  7. I’ll bet NONE of the plaintiffs actually WALKED to court and they all used a petroleum product of some kind that very morning, including the mobiles in their pockets and the ink on their court papers.

    Bet they still call Neanderthal Man primitive. Hypocrites.

    • In the UK case I linked to above, they even mentally abused 9-year old kids and seniors. I hope they live long enough for the kids to sue them for (brain) damages.

      • Can’t read that article as I don’t want to sign in with yet another site. But there’s no doubt greentard brainwashing spares nobody in the cause of their virtue signalling.

  8. The only way California in general and Oakland/SF specifically can have any effect would to get State legislation passed effectively banning the sale of the Oil Companies products, fossil fuel produced electricity and ALL fossil fueled vehicles within state borders on second thought I live in Wakyfornia and really don’t want to give the head loon any unnecessary ideas. Although as the case findings indicate it would have no effect on sea level rise.

    • Unfortunately, the head loon, aka Animal Farm Pig, knows exactly what he’s doing.

  9. The only way I can think of to discourage this kind of frivolous lawsuit is to allow/require the loser (the plaintiffs in this case) to pay ll costs incurred by the defendants in defending themselves. If the states or other entity cannot promptly come up with the cash then the lawyers involved should be personally responsible for the debt.

    • I think this statement by the judge is worth noting

      Such an argument has been rejected by our court of appeals, which has instructed that “liability is not to be conflated with amenability to suit in a particular forum.”

      It was rejected by the court of appeals. Their little brains must be squirming, how can they reintroduce the case after that
      And the case sets precedent.

      I wonder how the green mob will react? Will they menace and threaten the Judge and his family?
      The problem with the “Mob” is you eventually lose control of it, just ask Robespierre or rather his ghost..


  10. There’s too much money supporting the Socialist/Green ideology for this to go away. It will only stop when the bank rollers think they aren’t getting the bang for their buck. That won’t happen until the ideology pushers find a new bogeyman that they feel is more likely to sway the masses.

      • Good. The sooner they get their filthy hands off of the innocent Mr. CO2 , the better.

        • A lot of that plastic originates here. We put it into the recyclables bin. The recycling company ships it to Asia. They dump it in the sea instead of a landfill.
          Still appears insignificant.

  11. Oh my poor aching brain!

    We have a previous WUWT story in which Judge Alsup tossed out charges against the oil companies.

    The case numbers are the same so this story and the previous story are talking about the same case.

    The previous ruling is titled: “ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINTS”. The introduction is:

    In these “global warming” actions asserting claims for public nuisance, defendants move to dismiss for failure to state a claim. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED .

    This latest ruling is titled: “ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION”. The introduction is:

    In these “global warming” actions asserting claims for public nuisance, certain defendants move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. For the following reasons, the motions to dismiss are GRANTED .

    So is the case not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead?

    The only thing I can guess is that the previous ruling applied to some amended complaints and the latest ruling applies to the case as a whole. We desperately need a proper lawyer to explain this.

    • I am not a “proper lawyer”, but maybe this will make it clearer.

      On June 25 the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds of displacement. That is, the issue of the regulation of global warming caused by emissions was properly the province of the Federal Government, the legislative and executive branches, and so any harms occurring through fossil fuel emissions were not able to be litigated under the Common Law of Nuisance.

      The court then asked the parties whether it was still necessary to rule on another ground of dismissal alleged by the defendants, namely personal jurisdiction. This is the argument from causation, which had not been covered in the previous ruling. The court has now ruled on this claim for dismissal. The ruling is that the plaintiffs have failed to meet the standard for proving causation, the test of whether the damage would have occurred absent the defendants’ conduct.

      The present ruling is that it would have, and therefore that the plaintiffs have no case.

      As I understand it, the two grounds for dismissal are at least partially independent. The displacement test is whether this is a matter for the courts. The personal jurisdiction test is whether you can be claimed to have done the damage. Either one can go either way.

      In the present case, the plaintiffs have lost on both grounds. One ground is that this is a matter for the other branches of government (displacement). The other ground is that the plaintiffs have failed to argue that absent the defendant’s conduct the damage would not have occurred.

      You can get all the court filings and rulings here (the latest is not up just yet but will be):

      There is no substitute for reading the filings. And when you do, it all becomes quite clear.

      I suspect this dismissal on both grounds is going to later be seen as marking the high water mark of global warming hysteria.

      • Michel :
        “is going to later be seen as marking the high water mark of global warming hysteria”
        3 mm per year perhaps ?
        Golly Gosh ! Rhode Island is about to submerge ….along with Florida , Mauritius , and countless other atolls ( that defiantly keep RISING !
        despite the predictions ! GOOD ON “EM !! ……Persistent little buggers !!! ).
        ( For ” a wide brown land ” Australia SURE IS “GREEN” politically ! )

      • There’s the principle of judicial efficiency. If the first ruling actually ended the case, the judge would not normally then turn around and do unnecessary work to rule on other issues.

        • Yes.

          And if you read the filings and the rulings you will notice that the judge in this case consulted the parties on whether it was still desirable or necessary to consider and rule on this additional ground for dismissal.

          I am not a ‘proper lawyer’, but think that these two rulings set the bar so high that no common law nuisance case on global warming is going to make it. You have to prove both that the defendants were the cause of damage that would not have occurred without their conduct.

          And you also have to prove that regulation of the activity complained of is not properly the province of the executive or legislature. And that regulation of it which already occurs by the Federal Government, if there is any, also does not displace.

          No way.

  12. With or without prejudice? That will determine if this festering turd can be re-filed so as to keep lining lawyers pockets.

  13. So plaintiffs lost and will have to pay millions for defendants costs of defending litigation. This will slow the litigants down.

    • Both Alan and Donald;
      unfortunately, this is the great US of A where there is no “loser pays” scenario which means no, no further money will change hands. Even if it did, remember, the plaintiffs were using taxpayer money…

  14. “But Jim, those are our men down there! We can’t just leave ’em!”

    “Bones, … we … don’t … have a choice. Don’t you see there’s … nothing … I can do?”

  15. The world sees sense. I guess this tells us that outside the political world there is no support at all for CAGW. Good. It is very limited then.

  16. This is great news.
    The green-leftist ploy of using the courts to push through deeply unpopular policies that have been rejected at the ballot box has failed (this time).

  17. Meanwhile, here in MD, the city of Baltimore is considering a similar lawsuit. I hadn’t realized that the city had resolved all their other issues as high crime/murder rate, schools in taters, police department corruption, etc, etc. They don’t have the money to take care of these issues, but have money for a frivolous lawsuit. But come election time, city residents will keep voting for democrats, oh the madness!!

  18. Hurry up good people! It’s long past time to take the offensive! Sue the warmists under Civil RICO!


    I have been considering this approach for several years and I think it is now time to proceed..

    Civil RICO provides for TRIPLE DAMAGES. Global losses from the global warming scam are in the trillions, including hundreds of billions on the USA.

    We would sue the sources of warmist funding and those who have significantly profited from the global warming scam..

    The key to starting a civil RICO action is to raise several million dollars to fund the lawsuit, which will be protracted and expensive.

    If serious funders are interested, please contact me through

    Regards, Allan MacRae
    September 21, 2014 11:28 pm

    On Accountability:

    I wrote this to a friend in the USA one year ago (in 2013):

    I am an engineer, not a lawyer, but to be clear I was thinking of a class action (or similar) lawsuit, rather than an individual lawsuit from yourself or anyone else.

    I suggest that there have been many parties that have been damaged by global warming alarmism. Perhaps the most notable are people who have been forced to pay excessive rates for electricity due to CO2-mandated wind and solar power schemes. Would the people of California qualify? Any other states? I suggest the people of Great Britain, Germany and possibly even Ontario would qualify, but the USA is where this lawsuit would do the most good.

    There is an interesting field of US law that employs the RICO (anti-racketeering) statutes to provide treble (triple) damages in civil cases. That might be a suitable approach.


    Despite congressional attempts to limit the scope of civil RICO, only one major area of law has been removed from the RICO Act. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C.A. § 77 et seq.) eliminated liability for RICO claims based on securities Fraud, unless the defendant has already been criminally convicted of securities fraud. The act thus removed the threat of treble (triple) damages in such cases. Congress concluded that federal securities laws generally provide adequate remedies for victims of securities fraud. Therefore, it was unnecessary and unfair to expose defendants in securities cases to the threat of treble damages and other extraordinary remedies provided by the RICO Act.

    Critics of the RICO Act applaud this congressional action but argue that the same reasoning can and should be applied to other areas of Civil Law. These critics maintain that the act’s broad scope has given plaintiffs an unfair advantage in civil litigation.

    One criticism of civil RICO is that no criminal convictions are necessary to win a civil case under the act. The plaintiff need only show, by a Preponderance of Evidence, that it is more likely than not that the ongoing criminal enterprise occurred. As a result RICO has been used in all types of civil cases to allege wrongdoing. By contrast, a criminal RICO case must be proved Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

    In addition, the judge and jury in a criminal RICO case are prohibited from drawing an adverse inference from a defendant’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment Privilege against Self-Incrimination. No such ban exists, however, in a civil RICO case. Critics contend that it is unfair for a party in a civil RICO case who has concerns about potential criminal liability to be forced to waive his or her Fifth Amendment privilege in order to mount an effective defense in the civil action. Once testimony is given in the civil case, the party has effectively waived the privilege against Self-Incrimination, and the testimony may be used in a subsequent criminal prosecution. Critics contend that the RICO Act should be amended to stay (delay) a civil RICO proceeding until a criminal RICO proceeding has been concluded.

    The critics of civil RICO also believe that its use has given plaintiffs an unfair tool that often serves to coerce a party to settle out of fear of a treble damages award. These critics believe that no civil RICO action should be allowed unless the party has been convicted under criminal RICO.

    [end of excerpt]

    I suggest the Climategate emails could provide the necessary evidence of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the public, through fraudulent misallocation of government-funded research monies, and wind and solar power schemes that were forced upon consumers and which were utterly incapable of providing significant or economic new energy to the electric power grid.

    Your thoughts?

    Regards, Allan

    • Also from 2015:

      Hi Wayne,

      Global cooling will put an end to this CAGW nonsense by about 2020.

      You can contact me through my website.

      Best, Allan

      Here is the link to my latest paper.

      It is a retrospective of our debate on the Kyoto Protocol that was published in 2002.

      by Allan MacRae, Aug. 26, 2015


      One’s predictive track record is perhaps the only objective measure of one’s competence. The IPCC has a negative predictive track record, because ALL of its scary projections have failed to materialize. The IPCC thus has NO credibility; actually it has NEGATIVE credibility.

      Probabilistically; based the IPCC’s negative predictive track record, one would more correct if one assumed the opposite of the IPCC’s scary projections.

      In summary, all our predictions have proven correct in those venues that fully embraced the now-defunct Kyoto Accord, whereas none of the IPCC’s scary projections have materialized.
      So what happens next? Will we see catastrophic humanmade global warming? No, our planet will cool.


      I (we) predicted the commencement of global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article published in the Calgary Herald in 2002. That prediction is gaining credibility as solar activity [in current SC24] has crashed… It is still early in the prediction game, but SC25 is also projected to be very weak, so we will probably experience two consecutive very-weak Solar Cycles in SC24 and SC25… IF the Sun does indeed drive temperature, as I suspect, then successive governments in Britain and continental Europe have brewed the perfect storm. They have crippled their energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected wind power schemes. I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Europe [and the world] will get colder, possibly much colder. I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the Europe as cooling progresses. I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality rates will provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.

      Timing is difficult to estimate, but I now expect global cooling to be evident by 2020 or sooner.

  19. Amusing error in the judgement – apparently Royal Dutch Shell is registered in a marine mammal. “Royal Dutch Shell is a holding company registered in England and Whales …….”

  20. Maybe they need to shift to “ocean rising due to land subsidence due to pumping oil out of the ground?”

  21. In other words, the accused oil company actions have no measurable effects of harm to the plaintiffs. This makes way too much sense, and so I’m pleasantly surprised that any court system considering insane claims actually arrived at this sane conclusion.

  22. On Feb 13, 2018: The judge dismissed all charges in the lawsuit brought against Dr Tim Ball by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. It is a great victory for free speech.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
    Tim’s website is
    “Human Caused Global Warming”, ‘The Biggest Deception in History’.

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