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Supreme Court Should Grant Energy Manufacturers’ Request to Stay State Court Proceedings

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court requesting that the justices grant an emergency request by energy manufacturers to stay the City of Baltimore’s climate lawsuit until the federal judiciary can determine whether the city’s case should be heard in state or federal court. The amicus brief is in response to a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to deny a stay in state court proceedings in Baltimore’s lawsuit while the court is still considering energy manufacturers’ appeal of an earlier decision to remand the case to state court.

Here are some key highlights from the amicus brief:

  • “These cases, though, are built on the same faulty legal foundations rejected by this Court in AEP.”
  • “Nearly all of these cases, including the one at bar, are pending in federal circuit courts, with one lawsuit stayed pending the outcome of these cases. . . . The Court should allow the appellate courts to resolve these jurisdictional questions before allowing any of the cases to proceed in state court.”
  • “The federal judiciary should speak with one voice on a single legal issue, regardless of how many cases are filed. Lawyers and advocacy groups should not be rewarded for filing multiple claims in multiple jurisdictions.”
  • “The Application should also be granted because it would be a waste of judicial resources for Plaintiffs to start discovery or have a trial in a case when the case—and others like it—are properly before the federal circuits and likely to be dismissed as not viable. In AEP, the Court made clear the legal policy decisions governing this litigation, which, if properly followed, should require climate tort cases to be heard in and dismissed by federal courts.”
  • “Further, this penalty would be assessed irrespective of the ability of families and businesses to pay more for their energy needs, the impact on the U.S. economy and energy independence, or the other imperative factors Congress and federal agencies must consider when presented with such public policy choices.”
  • “… ultimately dismissing this litigation is not surrendering to climate change. Rather it places the debate where it must be considered: Congress and the federal agencies. The best way to reduce climate change emissions and impacts is for Congress, federal agencies, and local governments to work with America’s manufacturers on policies and new technologies that reduce emissions.”

As the MAP noted in its statement responding to the 4th Circuit’s ruling, “The other courts have dismissed their cases or stayed the proceedings until the appeals can be heard. It makes no sense for the Baltimore case to get out ahead of this process. At the end of the day, we are confident that the courts will once again find that climate change requires a broad and innovative response from policymakers, not a liability ruling from state or federal courts.”