The following list of global warming lawsuits, in basic order of courthouse file date appearance, is not an all inclusive-list. When I see a lawsuit like the dismissed “children’s climate change lawsuit” (formally filed as Juliana, et al. v. United States of America) which contains no accusation implying energy company officials colluded with skeptic climate ‘liars-for-hire’ scientists in disinformation campaigns, it doesn’t get listed here. Same reason for not including the 10/24/2018 State of New York v. Exxon lawsuit, where energy companies simply stood accused of not telling their investors about climate change risks.The lawsuit filings below each contain, either minimally or more significantly, accusations that fossil fuel industry disinformation campaigns exist, and the supporting evidence is a supposedly leaked industry memo set known as “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact,” and / or the memo set known as “victory will be achieved.” Many more details about each lawsuit can be read in my “details here” blog post links below, and additionally in the “post categories’ / “post tags” links at the end of each blog post. Each new lawsuit appearing after the initial creation date of this list (9/17/20) will appear at the end of this list with a new running total number assigned to it, and will be red-highlighted, similar to my updates in my NewsHour Reporting page.
List of overall ‘Big Energy Knew’-style lawsuits (the first two were dismissed long ago, but are included for reference purposes) as of 12/15/22, which additionally has “asterisk notes”:
Sher Edling boilerplate copies: 16
Sher Edling assistance lawsuits: 2 *
Hagens-Berman-Pawa lawsuits: 3** Their #4 lawsuit, King County v. BP, was self-dismissed by the county on 9/28/21
‘Independently led’ lawsuits: 6 – with the addition of Municipalities of Puerto Rico v. Exxon Mobil, et al. But are they really devoid of problematic outside influence?
Total current lawsuits: 27 *
* City of New York v Exxon Mobil Corp et al. (4/22/21) — similar to the above noted NY State v Exxon filing, this one makes no mention of energy orchestrated disinformation campaigns employing skeptic climate scientists, it just accuses the companies of not warning consumers of the harm of oil-derived products. However the city has brought in the California law firm Sher Edling for assistance. That’s weird. As seen in the Sher Edling boilerplate filings, that firm uses the ‘crooked skeptics exposed by leaked industry memos’ accusation as a cornerstone in all of its filings. Do they plan to add that accusation angle later? It’s something to keep an eye out for. I won’t add this one to the overall count, but it is nevertheless mentioned as an asterisk because of its hugely problematic association with that law firm.
1 & 2: Comer v. Murphy Oil (2/23/06, Dismissed)
Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al. (2/26/08, Dismissed) — details here, “Three Degrees of Separation or Less, Part V: Ross Gelbspan and Global Warming Nuisance Lawsuits” Within that blog post, I also mention another of the “original global warming lawsuits,” Connecticut v American Electric Power (Dismissed), which doesn’t offer ‘leaked industry memos’ evidence, but has an important connection to the lead lawyer of Kivalina, Matt Pawa, who’s seen in subsequent lawsuits in this list.
3, 4 & 5: County of San Mateo v. Chevron Corp., et al.
County of Marin v. Chevron Corp., et al.
City of Imperial Beach v. Chevron Corp., et al. (all three filed on 9/17/17) — The first trio in what I term the “Sher Edling boilerplate copy” lawsuits, because all three are handled by the Sher Edling law firm, and because (other than wording applicable to specific plaintiffs) they are all nearly identical. At the time in 2017, it looked sensible to save time and effort for these nearby communities to utilize a centralized lawsuit / law firm, even when they were filed in separate courthouses. More details on the faults within these here, which includes Sher Edling’s potentially problematic tie-in to Kert Davies’ Climate Files / Climate Investigations Center.
6 & 7: People of the State of California v. BP P.L.C., et al., San Francisco Superior Court Case CGC 17-561370
People of the State of California v. BP P.L.C., et al., Alameda County Superior Court Case (both filed on 9/19/17, initially dismissed / apparently subsequently reinstated) — Pawa #1 & 2 lawsuits, details here, regarding the reappearance of attorney Matt Pawa in his new series of lawsuits filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.
8, 9 & 10: County of Santa Cruz v. Chevron Corp., et al. (12/20/17)
City of Santa Cruz v. Chevron Corp., et al. (12/20/17)
City of Richmond v. Chevron Corp., et al. (1/22/18) — The second trio (#s 4,5 & 6) in the Sher Edling boilerplate copy lawsuits — details here, ending with an item on how the energy companies could expose who is behind all these lawsuits via subpoenas of critical communications among a core group of enviro-activists.
11: City of New York v. BP PLC, et al. (1/09/18 – Dismissed?? Or simply dormant? I’ll leave it as active, as Energy in Depth has noted how this particular lawsuit has been twice resurrected from the dead) — Pawa #3 lawsuit. Note that the filing date for this on actually falls between the filings for the above Sher Edling Santa Cruz / Richmond filings. More details here, including its and Matt Pawa’s ties to Naomi Oreskes, Kert Davies, and Ross Gelbspan.
12: City of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel County v. Suncor Energy, ExxonMobil (4/17/18) — jointly submitted under one single filing, it’s the first lawsuit (#1 ‘Independently led’) with no readily obvious outright connection to either Matt Pawa or Sher Edling, but it does contain a passage that’s troublingly similar to one in the above Pawa-led New York v. BP lawsuit. Details here.
13:** King County v. BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch and ConocoPhillips (5/9/18) — Pawa #4 lawsuit, details here, which include three further credibility problems lead attorney Matt Pawa. **Self-dismissed, as of 9/28/21
14: State of Rhode Island v. Chevron, et al. (7/2/18) — Sher Edling #7 boilerplate copy, the point in time where the near-verbatim copies looks suspect. Details here, where I additionally include the lawsuit’s enslavement to a highly disingenuous claim by Naomi Oreskes about what President Lyndon Johnson said.
15. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C., et al. (7/20/18) — Sher Edling #8 boilerplate copy, details here, where I also include the troubling connections with other people and situations that lead attorneys Vic Sher and Matt Edling have.
16: Massachusetts v. Exxon (10/24/2018) — #2 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit, details here, concerning what looks like a paraphrase of ye olde “reposition global warming” leaked memos phrase, where I also point out the troubling connections that the same-day-filed State of New York v. Exxon lawsuit has with Matt Pawa and Naomi Oreskes.
17: Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations Inc. v. Chevron Corp., et al. (11/14/18) — Sher Edling #9 boilerplate copy, details here, ending with the basic question of why this law firm continues to pitch the same lawsuit template to different potential plaintiffs. 2/18/23 Author’s addition: As nicely illustrated at Climate Litigation Watch’s Feb 17, 2023 post, back in late 2018, National Public Radio reported that “Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), is not involved in the crabbers’ lawsuit …” But in an FOIA-requested CCI video that Climate Litigation Watch just made public, the staff attorney for CCI (described as such by the CCI video host at 27:55) Corey Riday-White said at the 35:12 “One of the cases that has been filed that we do support was brought by a fishermen’s association in Northern California/Southern Oregon …” You can’t have it both ways. Due to rising amounts of trouble I see with CCI’s quite likely direct connections with the Sher Edling lawsuits, I had to create a new tag category for CCI. (FYI, that Richard Wiles).
18: City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco LP, et al. (3/9/20) — After a nearly 16 month lull, Sher Edling #10 boilerplate copy, details here, with particular additional attention to a dubious ‘innocuous-looking’ web link to what turns out to be an old document upload file from Kert Davies when he was at Greenpeace.
19: State of Minnesota v American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil Corp, Koch Industries, Flint Hills Resources (6/24/20) —
#3 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit;* details here regarding its use of both the “reposition global warming and “victory will be achieved” memo sets and its obvious enslavement to Kert Davies’ Climate Files site as a source. [*12/29/20 revision: News of Sher Edling’s assistance came two months after the news about D.C. v Exxon immediately below, thus my out-of-sequence labeling of this as #2 in the “Sher Edling assistance” category. Details of that switch here.]
20: District of Columbia v ExxonMobil Corp, BP Plc, Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (6/25/20) —
#4 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit; but is it a coincidence* that this seemingly independent one follows just a day after the above Minnesota v API? Details here, regarding its single use of the “victory will be achieved” memo set and 10 elemental faults with a particular 4-paragraph passage …. and the notation at the end of the filing about the Sher Edling firm. [*10/15/20 revision: it was not a coincidence — In a recent change to Sher Edling’s website, they now claim this is their lawsuit filing. But since it is an anomaly with significantly different text than the prior ten Sher Edling boilerplate copy filings, I place this one as #1 in the “Sher Edling assistance” category instead]
21: City of Hoboken v. ExxonMobil, et al. (9/2/20) — #3 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit under a new pair of law firms, but they rely on the same old pair of leaked memo sets, details here, where at least one passage about the “reposition global warming” set seems to have citation sources that are perhaps questionably similar to the same citation sources in all the Sher Edling lawsuits.
22: City of Charleston v. Brabham Oil Company, et al. (9/9/20) — Sher Edling #11 boilerplate copy, this one hardly different than the prior ten, where a particular repeated claim about what Exxon supposedly “knew” back in 1977-78 presents questions about whether there is one common preparation template used for all these like-minded lawsuit filings. Details here.
23: State of Delaware v. BP America Inc, et al. (9/10/20) — Sher Edling #12 boilerplate copy, a dozen basically identical lawsuits. In my dissection of this one, details here, I bring up an item repeated in all of the lawsuits concerning an apparently baseless accusation directed at one single skeptic climate scientist.
24: Connecticut v. ExxonMobil Corp. (9/14/20) — #4 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit. Details here. Simple question for Exxon’s lawyers or objective reporters to ask is: What are the sources for the assertions in this filing and was there outside assistance of any kind in assembling this filing?
25: County of Maui v. Sunoco LP, et al. (10/12/20), Sher Edling #13 boilerplate copy. They don’t yet show this one in their own official list of lawsuits they are handling, but it is beyond clear that they are, similar to the way they left Honolulu v. Sunoco out of their list until recently despite the credit at the top of that 3/9/20 filing. Details here on how this one is a classic boilerplate copy, and why even that is a problem reporters should be asking about.
26: City of Annapolis v. BP, et al. (2/22/21), Sher Edling #14 boilerplate copy. Details here, where it seems that an inordinate number of news outlets were eager to dutifully regurgitate a particular quip about it from the city officials.
27: Anne Arundel County, Maryland v. BP, et al. (4/26/21), Sher Edling #15 boilerplate copy. Details here, noting just how much of a nearly literal copy this is of the above Annapolis filing.
28: State Of Vermont V. ExxonMobil Corp. et al. (9/14/21) — #5 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit. The Vermont AG’s announcement is here, and the filing is here, where only ye olde worthless “Victory will be achieved” memos are offered on page 28 as the best available evidence for the accusation that fossil fuel execs colluded with skeptic climate scientists to spread disinformation to undercut the ‘settled science’ of man-caused global warming. More details here, including the problem this lawsuit might have with text seemingly partly copied from a prior ‘not-exactly-independently led’ lawsuit.
29: Platkin v Exxon Mobil Corp. (10/18/22), Sher Edling #16 boilerplate copy. Extensive details here. Let’s just say New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s actions on this wasn’t all that well thought out …. not that any major sycophant news outlet will tell you about that, of course.
30th lawsuit overall, 27 of which are still current: Municipalities of Puerto Rico v. Exxon Mobil, et al. (11/22/22), — #6 ‘Independently led’ lawsuit. Lawsuit filing here, by the Tennessee-headquartered Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC law firm, an apparently new player in the “Exxon Knew”-style lawsuits. Or are they? The Nov 29 Reuters news announcement about the filing said “The group of 16 municipalities filed what they called a first-of-its-kind lawsuit.” Ah … no. Just no. There are egregious errors in its accusations ….. big ones. Full details in my Part 1 dissection here.