We covered this ground a few months ago, but FOX News Online is finally giving it some needed attention. There’s a new way for trial lawyers to make millions of dollars by abusing public nuisance tort law: Just sue oil and power companies over weather events which are supposedly caused or exacerbated by Global Warming.
The story I mentioned then — about Murphy Oil – was a case in which property owners in Mississippi are literally suing an oil company for Hurricane Katrina. Instead of being thrown out of court with a laugh, the case has amazingly almost made its way before the Supreme Court.
There are two other, similar cases mentioned in the FOX News piece:
– Connecticut v. AEP. Plaintiffs sued electric power producers to cap and then reduce their carbon emissions. Public nuisance tort law suit.
– Kivalina v. Exxon. Alaska natives sued oil companies and power companies and coal company alleging that greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming and threaten their existence.
Bear in mind: These are not lawsuits over pollution or specific harms clearly caused by the defendants — for example, a factory that poisons or causes cancer in a nearby town. These are lawsuits over the defendants’ alleged contribution to the world-wide phenomenon of Global Warming, whose precise, individual effect is unknowable. In theory, any motorist or user of electricity — or anyone who exhales — could be sued on the same grounds.