Three More Climate Lawsuits, September 2020: Hoboken, Charleston and Delaware

We are experiencing a torrential downpour of climate lawsuits. After new suits filed this summer by the State of Minnesota and Washington, DC, now in the past week or so there have been three more major suits filed by Hoboken, New Jersey, Charleston, South Carolina and the State of Delaware:

Hoboken, New Jersey

Hoboken, New Jersey sued the oil majors ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips along with the American Petroleum Institute. The case talks about Hoboken’s extraordinary vulnerability to extreme weather and sea level rise. The Statement of the Case on the first page of the complaint cites multiple archival documents, available on Our copy of the Hoboken brief with footnotes annotated, is available on DocumentCloud.

Charleston, South Carolina

Next came Charleston, South Carolina, another city extremely vulnerable to the impact of hurricanes and sea level rise…”Low Country” is the nickname of the region around Charleston. The city is suing a long list of companies, including major oil companies, along with smaller refining and pipeline companies. The suit also names ten trade associations and industry coalitions as “Relevant Non Parties”, including the American Petroleum Institute (API), American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM), the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the Global Climate Coalition and the Information Council for the Environment. Numerous documents archived on ClimateFiles are referenced in the case.

Annotated Charleston brief here

State of Delaware

And finally, today, the State of Delaware launched into the fray filing a 218 page complaint against the oil companies BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Hess, Marathon, Speedway, Murphy Oil, Shell, Citgo, Total, Occidental, Devon, Apache, CNX, Consol, Ovintiv and the American Petroleum Institute. Many of these companies are incorporated in Delaware giving the state the leeway to sue. Delaware is another state with a coastline full of vulnerability to climate chaos. As the Delaware Attorney General stated at the press conference, the case “…is not about stopping climate change… It is about Delaware surviving it.”

Annotated Delaware brief here

Posted by Climate Investigations Center