Yesterday, as a similar action out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit — BP P.L.C. et al. v Mayor & City Council of Baltimore — awaits argument in the United States Supreme Court, a two-judge First Circuit panel issued an opinion upholding a federal district court’s remand of Rhode Island’s case back to state court, in Rhode Island v. Shell Oil et al..
Energy Policy Advocates explained in its Baltimore amicus brief that these cases are about — as a Rhode Island cabinet-level appointee is recorded as confessing, in two separate sets of notes — obtaining a “sustainable funding stream” for governmental spending ambitions that legislatures have denied them (legislatures being more directly responsible for taxation, and therefore responsive to the people whose wallets they lighten).
As EPA also pointed out with specific assertions obtained in public-record emails, the tort bar and plaintiffs are intently focused on having their cases heard in state court, where they expect a more favorable outcome than they have received in the federal courts which have dismissed cases filed by San Francisco and Oakland and New York City.
Options for the plaintiffs include seeking to present this matter to SCOTUS or seeking a re-hearing or re-hearing by the whole Circuit.