Energy in Depth has an amusing summary here of how the Climate Trial of the Century was nothing to see, oh look squirrel…
[A]as trial proceeded, and it became clear that the NYAG had zero evidence to back up its baseless claims that ExxonMobil had misled its investors, its activist allies abandoned the case, reversing their opinion and proclaiming loudly that this wasn’t actually “the climate trial of the century” as they had previously suggested, but instead represented an acceptable loss in an ongoing “war” wherein Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is suddenly a supreme being of infinite power.
This revisionist history ignores the fact that the NYAG brought its charges under the Martin Act, the most powerful securities law in the country. While the Rockefeller-funded 350.org and their allies quickly pivoted to the case filed by Healey, claiming hers is “arguably even more important,” they ignore that Healey is up against even greater odds than the NYAG. As I wrote last month, and recently expanded upon in the Boston Globe:
“The deck is stacked against Healey. New York’s laws are more powerful than hers, and New York received over four million pages of internal company documents going back four decades, deposed employees, and took four years to build its case – only to get egg on its face in the courtroom. Healey has not received a single document from ExxonMobil, has not interviewed a single employee, and has had her investigation tied up in court for over three years. Not to mention that she’s still singing to the ‘Exxon Knew’ hymnal long after New York and others have moved on.”
“Not only is Massachusetts’ lawsuit similar to the New York case, in many places it is a near photocopy. Considering how New York failed to produce any evidence that ExxonMobil misled investors, Attorney General Healey’s regurgitation of those same unfounded allegations should fall equally flat.” (emphasis added)
The Martin Act is abusive, with a basement level-threshold requiring no showing of actual intent to deceive or reliance. Losing one of those prosecutions is like, say, failing to indict that ham sandwich or to get a FISA warrant approved despite facing no opposing counsel. It’s no wonder the climate litigation industry hopes you avert your gaze.
However, the stars are not aligning better for the next trial of the century, in which that OAG will face an embarrassing paper/email trail strongly suggesting it launched an investigation at the request of the trial bar, and obtained its cause of action from an activist academic at the “secret meeting at Harvard“. The one who said the meeting was “about going after climate denialism–along with a bunch of state and local prosecutors nationwide“. Can’t see that coming up.
The EID author reminds us that the NY AG’s face-plant came after years and millions of pages of discovery, then details the sudden change of rhetorical course by various commenters. It’s worth a read.
Next up, the media horde that couldn’t wait to promote the — let’s face it given the last-minute AG decision to simply drop the charges and failure even on the Martin Act charges — smear job of “fraud”, report how they got it wrong and promise to be more diligent next time.