BREAKING: #ExxonKnew lawsuit crashes and burns

What will Bill and the McKibbenites of do now? Oh Noes!

From Climate Litigation Watch:

Donor-, Tort Lawyer-Prompted NY AG Climate “Fraud” Suit Crashes, Burns

In its “fraud” pursuit of ExxonMobil as a proxy for the energy industry, and anyone who might dare to oppose the climate agenda again, the New York Attorney General failed to clear the lowest bar ever established for such matters, the Martin Act.

This is what happens when law enforcement launches abusive investigations and prosecution at the behest of donors and the plaintiffs’ tort bar. The nasty story of how all this came about is laid out in documentary form here.

This is not good news for Massachusetts’ AG Maura Healey who leapt in, filing her own suit as the NY AG’s meltdown became apparent, to — one would be forgiven for concluding — avoid filing in the wake of this disaster.



Here is the court’s opinion:

The sordid history of this abuses, as we knew it in August 2018, is here.

Much more is now known, some of which CLW posted in recent weeks.

Much more is coming.

97 thoughts on “BREAKING: #ExxonKnew lawsuit crashes and burns

    • Someone should pay Exxon’s legal fees, but it should not be the taxpayer. The plaintiffs firms behind this have hundreds of millions of dollars and should be taught a lesson about this risks of corrupting federal prosecutors with their scams.

  1. “#ExxonKnew lawsuit crashes and burns”

    Top scientists say AGW exacerbated the situation if not totally to blame.

    • ” The Matin act …. forbids the use of any device scheme or artifice, …. deception, misrepresentation, concealment, suppression, fraud, false pretense, false promise …

      Oh Mann, if only we could apply the Martin Act to climate science , they’d all be in jail !!

      • JR: 15% greening as of 2014. The latest about a year ago was 18%. The climateers don’t like to visit this subject. The greening (and doubling of harvests) is the only unequivocal manifestation of climate change. It makes “carbon” emissions unequivocally a huge plus on any real cost-benefit analysis.

    • Quite to the contrary my opinion is that we should let all of these farcical witch hunts burn on their own pyres as they get hit for court costs.

      • Unfortunately, the money to fund these things is inexhaustible — liberal billionaires, but more from marxist NGOs and vast amounts of laundered taxpayer money.

  2. Well it was good for some political donations and headline placement ad spots.

    Moving on to the next show trial waste-o-time.

  3. What is clear is NY’s AG Leticia James should be disbarred from Law practice.
    Of course being the first “woman of color” at the NY AG, as she is frequently described by her supporters, will allow her to continue to abuse her office’s powers.
    It is how political correctness and using the race card cowers the Liberal media and Legislators from doing their jobs to bring public accountability to office abusers like James (and Obama).

    • I think this open’s the door for disbarring a number of states attorneys. At the very least, since many of them are elected officials, it will provide a lot of gunpowder for upcoming elections. It also opens the door for a number of interstate actions, including Lanham actions to obtain permanent injunctions against any number of environmental groups so that any of the specious claims they make could be cause for contempt citations.

      Me thinks this is more bigger than the initial ruling would appear …

      • true….every bit of it

        If it wasn’t a $c@m….they would all be suing the UN/IPCC for saying China and developing countries can increase their emissions….and that’s where all of the increase has come from

        If they really believed this crap…they would all be screaming China is ki11…ing us all

        (I hope with the new format, some of these ridiculous censors are wiped out)

      • I hopped for a 42 USC 1983 (Civil action for deprivation of rights) action regarding:

        – The ExxonKnew absolute garbage that’s the legal underpinning for their theory of responsibility for not acting on data that wasn’t even corporate, private data. The implication that a private legal person was expected to analyse data one way or follow the opinion of one of the person in contract with them who interpreted it one way is crazy.
        – The massive, almost 100% in the open, conspiracy of Dem AG and private activists to enforce that theory.

    • true….every bit of it

      If it wasn’t a $c@m….they would all be suing the UN/IPCC for saying China and developing countries can increase their emissions….and that’s where all of the increase has come from

      If they really believed this crap…they would all be screaming China is killing us all

  4. Why doesn’t she sue Hollywood and Al Gore for co2 producing private jet travel, #algoreknew, #hollywoodknew

  5. They are a bunch of swindlers and idiots. Notwithstanding their expensive, elitist educations, the Rockefeller heirs apparently didn’t learn a damn thing.

    I hope they rot in hell.

    I consider McKibben to be a modern day Rasputin employing tons of guilt to bamboozle impressionable but vulnerable adolescents.

    Middlebury College is complicit. It should be ashamed that it has allowed McKibben to abuse its students.

    • As for McKibben, watch him debate Alex Epstein back in 2012: Epstein has a common sense perspective on fossil fuels as a good thing! How dare he? (grin). Alex mops the floor with McKibben. While Alex remains calm and sounds sensible, McKibben gets flustered and nervous and sweaty. Anyone who likes McKibben and should watch it. McKibben only has a BA in English from Harvard but pontificates on climate as if he knows the subject better than anyone.

  6. Thanks for the link – I just downloaded the decision and read the first and last parts. As a resident of New York, I am glad to see this come to such a clear conclusion in favor of the defendant. What a lame case it was, and what a sad commentary on the misdirected mindset of our state’s public officials who should have known better!

  7. So far the WSJ has coverage on the news. Not sure about other media groups because I’m boycotting them from decades back.

  8. Sometimes, reading reports like these, I have an image of the US where billionaires own the judiciary
    and to promote their own interests can, with no conscience at all, ruin the lives of individuals whose only “crime” is to run a business giving goods that people want and providing jobs that people need.
    Is this how Americans want the rest of the world to see them, totally in the power of an eco-mafia.

    • Well maybe the Gangs of NY is a more confined way of looking at it. In that context Americans have the same watch-from-a-distance at NY idiots wonderment that others have. Country boundaries don’t matter so much when observing urban cultural and intellectual blight and abuse of once familiar institutions.

  9. There needs to be a consequence for filing frivolous lawsuits such as this. Right now, every greentarded atheist, misfit, deviate of all kinds, ecochondriac, and all other assorted malcontents can waste the time and resources of an already overburdened legal system with total impunity.

    At the very least, the plaintiffs should be responsible for the costs incurred by the defendants.

  10. I’ve just read this astonishing tosh about ExxonMobil on the wikipedia page for the AGU:

    The sponsorship of AGU by ExxonMobil became a source of concern for many members after evidence surfaced that ExxonMobil had known about climate change for decades but had actively worked to undermine climate science.[71][72][73][74] On February 22, 2016, a letter signed by 100 scientists was delivered to the AGU, requesting that they cut all ties with ExxonMobil and other companies that foster climate misinformation.[75][76][77] The AGU Board of Directors met on 22 April 2016 and voted to continue accepting sponsorship from ExxonMobil, arguing that there was not unequivocal evidence that ExxonMobil continues to participate in climate misinformation.[78] Instead of making a short-term political statement, the Board wished to engage with the energy industry over the long term.[79][80] In response, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Ted Lieu sent a critical letter saying that ExxonMobil continues to fund climate denial and is misleading the AGU.[81] The Union of Concerned Scientists also sent a letter urging them to reconsider.[82] However, in a meeting on 23 September 2016, the Board upheld its previous decision.[83]

  11. And some of you may recall this …

    U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan rejected as “implausible” Exxon’s argument that the states’ Democratic attorneys general, Eric Schneiderman and Maura Healey, were pursuing politically motivated, bad faith fraud investigations in order to violate its constitutional rights.

    Caproni was nominated to the bench by Obama, after she headed the FBI Office of Legal council, and was shown to improperly use elements of the Patriot Act to “spy on people.”

  12. Early in his judgment the judge referred to the AG’s “hyperbolic complaint”. He also referred to political statements by the previous AG.

    Toward the end, the judge said that the defense technical experts “eviscerated” the testimony of the AG’s witnesses.

    The short story seems to be that the judge did not find anything the AG’s department said to be credible. He didn’t quite call them lying liars …

    • I noticed those as well. I take them as subtle proof that the Court did not appreciate the AG’s consumption of limited judicial resources in pursuit of the AG’s political interests.

    • My family is (or was, several are now gone) infested with attorneys, including a judge. I have obtained an informal education on some of the law and ‘legalese’.

      This judge ripped the AGs AND all of their experts new backside orifices. Besides the hyperbolic and eviscerated comments, the judge questioned why one witness was called, since he could remember nothing relevant; that another misused XOM internal models, yet STILL couldn’t produce anything significantly different than what XOM did; one claimed XOM’s non-disclosure inflated the stock price per his THEORY, but did NOT actually look at the behavior of the stock during the time period involved (there was no significant change in the stock’s price); he said one witness was shown to be blatantly wrong and not credible in his analysis of the Mobile Bay facility; and some of the AG’s witnesses did not even support what the AG said they did.

      Moreover, the AG could not produce a single investor claiming any damages.

      The AG and his witnesses have professionally embarrassed themselves.

      OTOH, I am highly impressed by the thoroughness of EM’s analyses, models, and efforts to understand their markets, and make solid, responsible business decisions. It’s a good stock for an investor’s portfolio.

    • I noticed those as well. I’m sure they’ll try to spin it as something other than the abject failure that it is, but that’s some of the harshest language in a legal finding I’ve ever read – and I’m in the business.

  13. Needed: Tort reform where loser pays. It won’t stop Deep State apparatchiks from abusing the courts to harass people, but it would at least pay back the victims.

    • Should the lawyer himself that personally pays, not the taxpayer. Take it out of the AG’s personal assests.

  14. “……by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,”

    Preponderance? I’m not a legal expert, but isn’t that basically heresay, or a claim? Latitia couldn’t even make that stick. Great way to waste taxpayer money.

    • No, “preponderance” just means “more likely guilty than not”. This is the lowest bar to hurdle in the legal world. If you can’t even show a preponderance of evidence, then you should never have even brought the case in the first place. Shame on them for wasting so many tax dollars on this.

  15. Let’s hope ExxonMobile files against the State of NY for legal expenses in defending itself against such unsupportable charges. The judge “dismissed with prejudice” .

    Any lawyers reading here? Does that give ExxonMobile grounds to recover expenses?

    • Don’t know about recovering costs. But defending lawsuits is a legitimate business expense, which they can write off against earnings.

      So the net effect of the suit is NY tax money was spent to achieve the sole result of lowering Exxon’s taxable income. Hopefully it also lowers the re-election chances of the AG.

      • Lowering your taxable income still lowers all income. The result is Exxon shareholders are getting a smaller dividend.

          • 3rd Qtr 2018 dividend: $0.82
            4th Qtr 2018 dividend: $0.82
            1st Qtr 2019 dividend: $0.87
            2nd Qtr 2019 dividend: $0.87
            3rd Qtr 2019 dividend: $0.87

            I guess $0.87 is a smaller dividend than $0.82, but then I didn’t study higher level math.

    • “Two of the more common applications of the word are as part of the terms “with prejudice” and “without prejudice”. In general, an action taken with prejudice is essentially final; in particular, “dismissal with prejudice” would forbid a party to refile the case, and might occur either because of misconduct on the part of the party who filed the claim or criminal complaint or could be the result of an out of court agreement or settlement. Dismissal without prejudice (in Latin, “salvis iuribus”) would leave the party an option to refile, and is often a response to procedural or technical problems with the filing that the party could correct when filing again.”

  16. I bet this inspires David Middleton to park his Jeep Rubicon in the garage and put the EXXON Ferrari in the driveway. Can somebody drive by his house and tell us?

    • Just a Jeep Rubicon… No Ferrari, no Lambo, no Porsche. If I was going to drop $100k on a vehicle, I might think about a Mercedes G-Wagon… But I think I’d rather have a maxed out Jeep Gladiator.

      • “The Jeep Gladiator, Jeep Pickup or J-series is a series of full-size pickup trucks based on the large Jeep SJ platform, which was built and sold under numerous marques from 1962 to 1988.” (wiki)

        The problem with the Gladiator pickup is when you roll your truck, all your stuff falls out. Also, it doesn’t float as well as the fully-enclosed SJ version. Just sayin’ 🙂

  17. To play it safe, Exxon should warn stock holders for the events of next year;
    If Trump wins, everything stays the same and earnings will stay high.
    If Bernie wins, the economy will tank and earnings will drop by half.
    If Hillary wins, the economy will tank but earnings will DOUBLE …… because of all the tank fuel needed for the invasion of Russia.

  18. Read the ruling. The key sentence is the last. The action was dismissed with prejudice. That means it failed so miserably that nothing of the sort can be brought again.

    • Well, not exactly. The AG gang tried to get a climate change decision by taking a detour through securities law. The judge also said (paraphrasing here), that “nothing relieves Exxon Mobile of its responsibility for causing climate change through greenhouse gas emissions”, but that this was a suit brought under the Martin Act and was decided under the applicable standards of that act.

      This just means Exxon didn’t materially mislead investors, and there wasn’t even a faint suggestion of evidence presented that they did. There were some not so subtle comments on the flimsiness of the AG’s case.

      If you want to use the courts to litigate climate change, you can’t use securities law to do it.

      • I am a complete layman here. If “nothing relieves Exxon Mobile of its responsibility for causing climate change through greenhouse gas emissions” then, can the AG be held to account for environmental and ecological damage, and the affects on farmers being confronted by wind and solar power?

      • “nothing relieves Exxon Mobile of its responsibility for causing climate change through greenhouse gas emissions”

        Maybe the judge was just tossing a bone to Naomi Oreskes.

  19. “People of the State of New York v. Exxon Mobil”

    People of the State of New York = Losers. Fact.

  20. Having read the judgement–How can Attorneys General launch a lawsuit, with this much publicity, and costing this much, that ends up this wrong and contrary to law, and not be immediately ousted for misrepresentation of qualifications in accepting the position? How valid is a country’s legal system if they are allowed to remain in their positions the day after such a judgement is tabled?

    The judge’s ruling makes extensive reference to case law and to the relevant Acts in the judgement. Did these Attorneys General have no knowledge of any of this when they launched the suit? Does the US Legal System have no requirement for the lawyers working in it to have acquired and considered this knowledge before launching lawsuits?

    Rhetorical questions I am sure, ones that are generally met with eyes downcast at the floor and an uncomfortable shuffling of feet–but no answers from the profession other than to be told to ‘mind your own business’; they seem to like things just the way they are. On both sides–and the judge–everybody got paid. The State budgets will have to increase slightly, and the cost of gas will increase slightly to pay them.

    But something sure seems to need an overhaul here. The entire suit ended up being ‘without merit’ and no-one is accountable but the taxpayer and gas customer–which just happens to end up being the same wallet, and one that is not allowed to be involved other than to pay the bill or go to jail.

    • The purpose of the law was to promote the AGs involved and to promote the cause.
      That goal was achieved. The fact that they lost isn’t relevant since way more people heard about the cases being brought than will ever hear about them being dismissed.

  21. Wow. Just Wow!!!!!!!!
    I just finished reading through the entire 55page opinion. What a thorough evisceration by Judge Ostranger of the NY OAG’s attempt to shakedown XOM.
    All I can say is “Wow!”
    Judge Ostranger’s opinion is some very good, easy to read distilling of how empty were the NY-OAGs actions.

    Judge Ostranger noted that the two expert witnesses brought in to analyze and testify by NY-OAG, Dr Eli Bartov and Mr Peter Boukouzis, were “fundamentally flawed” and their testimony “eviscerated on cross-examination and by Exxon-Mobile’s expert witnesses.” Double Ouch!!!

    Leticia James two experts were totally destroyed by the testimony and the evidence in the Judge’s opinion.

    Also of note is the final signed statement from the Judge, the claims asserted are “denied” and “the action is dismissed with prejudice.”

    The “with prejudice” is particular damning to the NY-OAG in that this was a merit-less legal action from the states highest legal officer.

    Judge Ostranger clearly grasped how fundamentally flawed all of the NY-OAG testimony was. It was also clear he did not take kindly to the Plaintiff’s withdrawal the Fraud charges at the end of the trail during Closings in order to avoid an adverse ruling. He gave one anyways on those, as requested by XOM lawyers. More ouch to Ms James and her shake-down team.

    Once you read through the whole Opinion, XOM comes out very good from a PR stand-point. It carefully and fully articulated GHG costs and proxy costs in all ways per standards of the investment industry. They used a huge bunch of proprietary fiancial models prepared by their professional staff of analysts, scientists, and engineers to understand projects’ risks and investment returns. It was clear that the outside “academic” experts brought in by NY-OAG were totally above-the-heads and clueless with that level of sophistication.

    I mean this is a true Professional embarrassment for the NY-OAG. In the Private World, such a ruling would get people fired. Of course in the Democrat’s political world bubble, they’ll just ignore it.

    • One would think that there would be consequences for such a frivolous lawsuit but not for our dear lefties.

      They will spin it such as “the humble public servant dared to take on the Evil Empire Climate Killers and she fought the brave fight. She would have won but the judge must obviously be a paid shill for the Evil Empire. But fear not we will raise your taxes and file again because truth is on our side.”

      Or some other drivel to that effect.

  22. Apparently they will keep fighting even though law and climate are not on their side.

    “This isn’t the end. The fossil fuel industry must be held liable for the climate crisis. We will keep fighting to #MakeThemPay #ExxonKnew” is really a home is psycho-extremist nut-bars. Checking their twit feed I see a war in Canada started. lol.

    “#TransMountain pipeline is #indigenous #genocide in Canada. Colonization is an act of war”

    I suppose bluejeans too are genocide.

  23. It also seems to me that Billionaire Mikey Bloomberg should be pissed that the attorneys he paid to put in place to discredit Big Oil .
    Not only did they waste his dirty money, but that their work greatly bolstered the view that Exxon-Mobile (XOM) was and is careful and meticulous in planning for a wide-range of GHG cost scenarios on projects and that XOM exhibits high standards of corporate responsibility to investors.

    I think it’s likely the other states OAGs will likely slink and slither away now with this epic slapdown of the NY-OAG and their #Exxxon-knew shakedown scheme. At least that would be the sane response.

    But then trying to understand the irrational insanity of today’s Democrats is itself a dubious endeavor.

  24. from page 54 – “The testimony of the expert witnesses called by the Office of the Attorney General was eviscerated on cross-examination…”

    Ouch. No matter what you think about climate change, it’s not good when a judge says that about your case.

  25. Oh dear!
    What will McKibben and Oreskes do for their next ultra expensive swan song boondoggle?

    This legal action was supposed have a cascade effect demonizing fossil fuel companies and exposing their alleged schemes; exactly as happened to the Tobacco industry… i.e. Exxon was supposed to release smoking gun disclosures previously hidden from the public.
    Except, the only thing previously hidden were proprietary financial models; now exposed by NY A.G. and proven by the same A.G. to be faultless.

    Any highlighting is my doing:

    “The testimony of the expert witnesses called by the Office of the Attorney General was eviscerated on cross-examination and by ExxonMobil’s expert witnesses.

    Confronted with the disclosures in ExxonMobil’s Corporate Citizenship Reports, Form 10-K’s, and ExxonMobil’s annually published Outlook, the Office of the Attorney General failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that any alleged misrepresentation in Managing the Risks and Energy and Climate (or any other disclosure by ExxonMobil) was false and material in the context of the total mix of information available to the public.

    For all of these reasons, the claims asserted by the Office of the Attorney General under the Martin Act and Executive Law§ 63(12) are denied, and the action is dismissed with prejudice.

    Imagine that. Big oil was honest and truthful.
    It was McKibben, Oreskes, Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg and the New York’s A.G. Office who were not honest, truthful or correct at any allegation.

    Pity that they never admit to being ashamed of their false actions.

  26. You forgot to mention that bit where, as the verdict was pronounced, Greta Thunberg burst dramatically through the courtroom doors and snarled, “How dare you!”

  27. BBC Report on this: –

    It may surprise some readers of the excellent WUWT that the BBC’s slant is a little different to the comments above: for example, at 2140Z, they end their report with –
    “New York Attorney General Letitia James said despite her loss in court, the case had forced Exxon to “answer publicly” about its decision-making related to climate change.

    “We will continue to fight to ensure companies are held responsible for actions that undermine and jeopardize the financial health and safety of Americans across our country, and we will continue to fight to end climate change,” she said in a statement.”

    The word ‘eviscerate’ does not appear in the BBC report.
    Shock Horror.

    Noting that Boris J has suggested that the BBC’s tax – the TV Licence – might be reviewed in the next Parliament. And if the BBC wasn’t against the Tories before – it sure will be now!

    • At least people in the UK can choose to pay for their BBC; no TV, no tax.

      In Australia, their ABC is funded from general revenue. All tax payers support it whether they use it or not.

      It would be terrible for UK if Boris abolished licence fees. The first step should be to abolish the BBC.

    • Noting that Boris J has suggested that the BBC’s tax – the TV Licence – might be reviewed in the next Parliament. And if the BBC wasn’t against the Tories before – it sure will be now!

      That’s the problem for government teat suckers when they choose sides in politics, when the other side is in power it puts their access to the government teat in jeopardy. I shed no tears for Aunty Beeb.

  28. I’m glad I wrote to the president of EXXON to show them my support to defend themselves and not roll over.

  29. Love the quote from the new York AG:

    “…we will continue to fight to end climate change.”

    Good luck with that one, petal.

  30. Could have been a one sentence opinion from the judge-“how could Exxon ’know’ when you clowns don’t even know?”

    • There are many useful flaws and exceptions in the system that normal folk are not meant to see until the elites have to tap one to conduct their special operation and win the day at any cost. In this case failing in court is winning in the special art of promotion and media ad buy hits. Science and justice are lofty irrelevant terms for them here.

  31. “We activists will NOT be dissuaded or repelled by logic, facts, or law… We will prevail because the human species is so willing to believe anything reported by a “authoritarian source” – like a TV or news organization, or elected official, or self appointed messiah.”

    I don’t expect this to ruling to have ANY affect on the insane.

  32. one down how many more to go, the climate chicken little are committing law fare against the oil companies. would be interest to see if oil/gas could not flow to New York how that would play out. Cuomo has already opened up the gas company to liabilities where it does not have the infrastructure to provide gas to all the homes in new york needing it.

  33. climate science knew as far back as Callendar 1938
    The other aspect of the war against the oil industry is that oil and gas production lowers the pressure that forces out the natural hydrocarbon seeps. Without oil and gas production, the seepage rate will increase and undermine much of the apparent advantage to the climate of not producing oil and gas. No matter how much one hates hydrocarbons the fact is that we live on a hydrocarbon planet and we ourselves are carbon life forms made from that stuff.

    • Someone should pay Exxon’s legal fees, but it should not be the taxpayer. The plaintiffs firms behind this have hundreds of millions of dollars and should be taught a lesson about the risks of corrupting federal prosecutors with their scams.

  34. And to give some more background, this is ExxonMobil’s view when this all started of how they didn’t mislead the public or shareholders:

    Quote from ExxonMobil:
    “For a few months now, ExxonMobil has been hit by a series of politically motivated legal attacks related to our climate research.
    Amid all the tumult, it’s easy to lose track of the most elemental – if not the most important – facts about our corporation’s position on climate change.
    So let me take this opportunity to restate it.
    At ExxonMobil, we believe the risks of climate change are real.
    We are actively working to reduce greenhouse emissions in our own operations and to help our customers reduce their emissions as well.”

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