The Supreme Court said on Friday it would hear a procedural question in Baltimore’s lawsuit to hold 26 fossil fuel companies liable for the costs of responding to climate change. The rather technical question at issue, which is unrelated to the substance of Baltimore’s climate liability lawsuit, is over the criteria by which federal appeals courts evaluate the question of whether the case should be eventually heard in a state or federal court. In climate liability suits brought by cities and states against fossil fuel companies for their contribution to climate change, those companies have consistently sought to remove the cases to federal courts where they believe theft will get a more favorable reception.
“It is a super wonky, in-the-weeds issue, but it’s one that people following these cases, I think, identified pretty early on as a potentially important one,” Sean Hecht, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law, told E&E. Well-financed fossil fuel companies often have more resources with which to fight these cases, he added, “You see this in other cases, where it’s kind of a war of attrition and the companies that are defendants have the ability to just keep the cases going and try to wear out their opponents.” (Drilled, E&E $, New York Times $, Politico Pro $, Bloomberg Law, The Hill, SCOTUSblog)