Washington D.C. – Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to Thursday’s decision by the Texas Court of Appeals, which reluctantly dismissed ExxonMobil’s petition to conduct pre-suit discovery against the lawyers, cities and foundations that have been waging the climate litigation campaign against it and other energy manufacturers.
“This ruling is a must read for anyone who cares about climate litigation because it uncovers the systematic campaign that lawyers, activists and cities have engaged in over the past decade to turn climate change into a tort litigation issue, not a matter of national energy policy. This is one of the rare rulings that is not important for the result, but for what the judges said about how these groups are trying to undermine the rule of law.
“Specifically, the Texas court called the ‘lawfare’ the California municipalities are engaged in an ‘ugly tool by which to seek the environmental policy changes the California parties desire, enlisting the judiciary to do the work that the other two branches of government cannot or will not do.’ The Court also issued extensive findings of fact that track the climate liability campaign, from the infamous La Jolla conference where this litigation strategy was born to secret meetings with foundations to recruit state attorneys general and California municipalities to their cause.
“Another good read is the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project’s Beyond the Courtroom report because it further exposes how this litigation has been driven by politics and profit all along. Its chapters detail how a handful of wealthy foundations have been providing money to law firms and public relations consultants to generate and create a false façade of support for this litigation. In addition to leveraging these lawsuits for their protracted fundraising campaigns, they are trying to use them as improper tools to drive the policy debate on climate public policies.
“At the end of the day, Americans understand that selling energy they need and use every day is neither unlawful nor a public nuisance, and therefore not a liability concern for the courts. Climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed, but this litigation is neither a viable legal option nor productive. We hope the Texas Supreme Court will allow this case to proceed so that the Texas courts can fully pull back the curtain on the climate litigation campaign.”
The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at mfgaccountabilityproject.org