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Courts Continue to Put the Brakes on Climate Change Lawsuits as the One-Year Anniversary of the San Francisco and Oakland Cases Passes

By Lindsey de la Torre

Executive Director of the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project.

It has now been one year since public officials in San Francisco and Oakland teamed up with trial lawyers to sue manufacturers over the issue of global climate change. While the cases made headlines, they had much more trouble getting traction in the courts.  So, where do manufacturers stand one year later?

In recent months, judges around the country have started putting the brakes on these lawsuits, agreeing with what manufacturers have been saying all along, that these issues are not for the courts to decide.  This summer, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup rejected the public nuisance suits by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.  He stated that “the problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case” and concluded that the legislative and executive branches are better situated to address this global issue rather than the judiciary.

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