Lawsuits against oil companies for damages connected to climate change are mounting. So far, eight cities and counties in California and New York City have filed suit. Two Los Angeles city councilmen want that city to do the same.
The growing number of cases is seen by some legal experts as a strategy of multiplicity. Lawyers representing municipalities are trying separately to persuade numerous courts that their clients’ shorelines are being eroded by rising seas and that the oil industry is to blame.
“This is sort of very cutting-edge, relatively high-risk litigation,” said Daniel Farber, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. Winning one of the cases would help the others, he said, and there’s a benefit to “taking a lot of different shots in a lot of different courts.”