The City of Hoboken, New Jersey, is the latest entrant in the “climate nuisance” litigation campaign chronicled here at CLW. The complaint can be found here.
Signs were piling up that some New Jersey plaintiff or plaintiffs were preparing to enter the fray, with advocates for the climate litigation industry making the rounds and a panel featuring the lead plaintiff’s lawyer in this suit, Jonathan Abady, scheduled for this past February. The event was delayed but finally went off last month as a webinar.
The event was co-organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which hosted the “secret meeting at Harvard“, a briefing for state attorneys general and “prospective funders“, to discuss “Potential State Causes of Action Against Major Carbon Producers“.
Another co-organizer was the Climate Integrity Project, of the “Center for Climate Integrity,” an “energy consultant” according to the City of Baltimore (another plaintiff), whose role in Baltimore’s litigation the City does not want the public to see.
When it did occur, the New Jersey panel featured Brenda Ekwurzel of UCS, who participated in the 2012 “single sympathetic attorney general” planning meeting in La Jolla, California, and Marco Simons, general counsel, EarthRights International. Mr. Simons has appeared in public records and on CLW as an assistant to the tort bar’s effort to recruit Florida municipalities to the cause.
His group has been quite active on that front.
After public records requests yielded some details of this campaign, at least one of the targets for recruitment announced it was not participating.
Mr. Simons’s lobbying effort also appears in Government Accountability & Oversight’s amicus briefs in the First Circuit and United States Supreme Court cases addressing jurisdictional question, as the tort bar fights to keep these cases in state courts. Mr. Simons was part of a campaign by IGSD, which runs the Climate Integrity Project.
The context of those briefs seems relevant to Hoboken’s filing. This is the confession by Rhode Island’s Director of the Department of Environmental Management, Janet Coit, confessing to colleagues at the Rockefeller mansion in Pocantico, New York, that Rhode Island was proceeding in state court in hopes of obtaining a “sustainable funding stream” to finance a policy agenda that the Ocean State’s elected representatives are not interested in tapping the taxpayer to underwrite.