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Judge Delays Ruling: Our Take on an Important Court Hearing

As we previewed recently, a federal court in New York yesterday heard opposing sides in a politically-motivated investigation of energy manufacturers by New York and Massachusetts attorneys general Eric Schneiderman and Maura Healey. This case is important to watch, as it is represents the latest in a coordinated effort by a group of attorneys general, trial attorneys, environmental activists and deep-pocketed donors to disparage manufacturers in America. Here’s what you need to know from yesterday’s hearing:

The Ruling Was Delayed

  • U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni heard a case challenging a long-standing crusade by Attorneys General Schneiderman and Healey to attack energy manufacturers. After questioning the claims brought by the attorneys general, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni ended the hearing without making a ruling. Caproni said she wants to hear additional arguments before determining the merits of Schneiderman and Healey’s claims.
  • Briefs by Schneiderman and Healey are due by December 21. Energy manufacturers are due to respond by January 12, 2018, with replies by attorneys general due a week later.
  • This outcome was a positive one for energy manufacturers as it demonstrates the judge will take a closer look at the merits of Attorneys General Schneiderman’s and Healey’s claims.
  • This latest development is a setback for the AGs and activists who are pushing this litigation as they expected it would be easily dismissed.

Legal Arguments Keep Changing and Goal Posts Keep Moving

  • Legal claims made in this anti-energy crusade continue to shift and morph.
  • First, the attorneys general claimed energy manufacturers withheld important emissions research from shareholders, a theory that was later debunked.
  • Next, Schneiderman said his investigation would focus more on recent events than on the past.
  • More recently, the claim has become that energy manufacurers are overstating the value of reserves.
  • The AGs keep moving the goalposts when their legal strategy hits a dead end, demonstrating the degree to which the investigation is a fishing expedition.

Manufacturers Must Pay Attention to This Lawsuit

  • The investigations and suits brought by elected officials like Schneiderman and Healey aren’t about enforcing the law or protecting the public. They are about advancing anti-manufacturing political agendas and advancing political careers.
  • These investigations and claims may be meritless, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Should they gain traction, investigations and claims like these threaten ALL manufacturers, opening the door to more lawsuits aimed at other successful industries and undermining the American legal system.

As this case continues to develop, MAP will keep shining a light on the myths being perpetrated by Schneiderman, Healey and their allies. These politically driven investigations must be exposed for what they are.