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The National Association of Manufacturers Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Hear California Climate Lawsuits

Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States urging the Court to review the climate tort lawsuit brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. As the NAM argues, “The Court should grant the Petition to reinforce the understanding from [American Electric Power v. Connecticut] that climate tort litigation raises issues of ‘special federal interest.’”

In their petition filed earlier this year, manufacturers targeted in the litigation are requesting that the Supreme Court review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision that revived Oakland and San Francisco’s lawsuits last year. The Ninth Circuit erred in rejecting the case’s federal jurisdiction, the manufacturers argue, as the claims brought forth by the cities are clearly federal in nature.

The NAM supports the manufacturers’ position, explaining that it has “grave concerns about the attempt here to create categorical liability for lawful, beneficial energy products essential to modern life through state tort law.” Additional highlights from the NAM’s amicus brief are below:

  • “Unlike traditional state tort suits, success for this litigation campaign is not about proving legal or factual allegations, but filing and maintaining lawsuits in state courts to achieve national public policy goals.”
  • “The legal theories presented in this litigation are nothing more than mere fig leaves; unlike traditional local property damage cases, their claims are not moored to any specific plaintiff, defendant, location or jurisdiction.”
  • “In the climate change cases, the attempt to mask federal issues under state public nuisance law does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny.”
  • “This Court should not permit the Cities to mask their attempt to affect national [greenhouse gas] emissions and the worldwide production of fossil fuels by ‘artfully’ and disingenuously pleading their claims under state tort law.”
  • “The challenge facing society is to affordably and reliably provide this energy while reducing environmental impacts. It is not to blame those providers for selling energy people need to heat their homes, fuel their cars, build schools, places of worship and workplaces, and turn on lights.”

Numerous other parties filed amicus briefs, including eighteen state attorneys general, signaling the major importance of the issues in this case.