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Small Claims suits agains Exxon and others for AGW disception?

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by nwdiver, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Here's an interesting idea... Exxon and other fossil fuel majors have teams of lawyers that can fight a few class action suits. But... what if they were inundated with hundreds or thousands of state level small claims suits? My Mom needs AC in WA thanks to climate change. The filing fee is $29 and the max payout is $5k. Only seems fair that Exxon help pay since their lies contributed greatly to this problem.
     
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  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Are you going to give it a try ?
     
  3. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Yes. :D
     
  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Excellent.
    Good luck, and please let us know how things go.

    I'm willing to spend $29 and some time at court just to force Exxon to defend itself regardless of the court decision. Death by a million mosquitoes.
     
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  5. Lloyd

    Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    They won't defend. They won't pay. Good luck collecting!
     
  6. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    .... pretty sure they have to pick one....

    That's the idea....
     
  7. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    Considering that 7 of the 12 monthly record highs occurred before 1970 (before Exxon was formed in 1972), and that 4 of the other 5 occurred 20+ years ago, you're going to have a very hard time trying to get a judge to assign blame to Exxon.

    upload_2017-8-29_15-9-11.png
     
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  8. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    It's not the max. It's the persistent prolonged length of days >85F. And the nights that never cool. Trying to find good degree day data...


    Pacific Northwest Observations
    The Pacific Northwest warmed about +1.3°F between 1895 and 2011, with statistically-significant warming occurring in all seasons except for spring [4,5]. All but five of the years from 1980 to 2011 were warmer than the 1901-1960 average (Figure 3) [4]. Warmer temperatures have increased the frequency of warmer extremes and mitigated cooler averages. Nighttime heat events have become a more occurrence west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington (1901-2009) [6]. The frost-free season (and the associated growing season) has lengthened by 35 days (±6 days) from 1895 to 2011 [5].

    I grew up here. We had the occasional day >90F but it would cool down at night... we've never had 85F+ heat for weeks on end. Most home up here do not have AC.... that's quickly changing.

    [​IMG]

    Pretty sure 2017 will beat 2015....

    Then there's the drought... this is the longest period of time without rain in recorded history for Western WA.
     
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  9. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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  10. TacC

    TacC Member

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    I'm not weighing in on this one way or the other. Just want to throw out there that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff in small claims court. I've defended my employer in court multiple times and "won" without speaking.

    My guess is that you/your mom will have to prove that Exxon lied, that the lie(s) were intended to deceive and that the deception changed behaviors and those changes in behaviors directly resulted in global warming. That's quite an uphill climb.

    If anything, Exxon will send a manager or supervisor who works in the area and have them teed up with a handful of bullet points. My guess is that they won't even go that far.
     
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  11. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #11 nwdiver, Sep 2, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    That hill has already been climbed. Exxon is now in almost the exact same position as Phillip Morris and other tobacco majors were 20 years ago. There is almost no difference... I don't even know if there is a difference. The evidence is clear that Exxon knew about the dangers of their product as indicated by internal communications from Exxon Scientists. Exxon then proceeded to deny these dangers publicly and spread misinformation that was counter to what Exxon scientists were telling Exxon. No different than what tobacco companies did....

    Just need to find a judge that accepts physics and believes in accountability and we'll be set :)
     
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  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Maybe not. If the defense costs are more than the liability Exxon may just pay.
     
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  13. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I would love to see this go down like tobacco did. The courts have previously dismissed AGW cases. They agreed there was liability but claimed the EPA was taking action. This is no longer true. Let the litigation begin.
     
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  14. TacC

    TacC Member

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    The liability would be in the trillions. Accepting blame would open the door to paying for flood damage, heat-related deaths, species extension and the list goes on.

    Even if they are deemed to be partially at fault, shouldn't we also be suing Ford, Weyerhaeuser, Rubbermaid, Boeing, Caterpillar, Bayliner and thousands of other manufacturers?

    How about the scientists who used diesel refined by Exxon to get to the north pole? Or Al Gore flying private? The anecdotes are endless. How do we know they weren't purposely trying to warm up the planet in an effort to kill fossil fuels? Hyperbole, of course. Be prepared to defend it, though. Exxon's lawyers would leave no stone unturned.

    Back to reality... There are so many moving parts here, I don't see how one could ever nail down a share of the blame/cost and place it solely on one party. And so much of this compounds. What percent of global warming can be attributed to activities that took place and behaviors that were formed prior to Exxon's awareness about the impact on the planet?
     
  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Does failure to contest in Small Claims court set a precendent ?

    Be my guest

    What about them ? The charge is deception leading to harm
     
  16. bkp_duke

    bkp_duke Member

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    While this is an admirable idea, I think the legal pitfall (not a lawyer here) might be burden of proof. As the claimant you have to prove beyond a doubt your case. As there have been a few dissenting opinions here already with some data presented, you could have a significant problem making that proof.

    From Exxon's legal standpoint, my understanding is that they would just have to establish legal precedent once here, to get the other cases thrown out.

    Again, not my field, but that's how I see this potentially playing out.
     
  17. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #17 nwdiver, Sep 2, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Yes... yes it would. Which is why we should have had a carbon tax a long time ago. Let the litigation begin.

    As far as anyone is aware those companies didn't do independent research into climate change. Exxon did. Then they lied about what they found. If big tobacco had been honest and upfront about the dangers of smoking the case against them would have been very weak. It's often not the crime but the coverup that brings people down.

    Here's how it played out against tobacco.
     
  18. Got-EMF

    Got-EMF Member

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    I'll be happy to pay you triple your $29 filing fee if you win! The hope with some small claims court claims is that the defendant thinks it is cheaper to just not show up, pay the default judgement & not have to spend more money on any legal representation. Other courts have much higher potential liabilities. I've spent 10s of thousands of dollars to legal representation (attorneys) over several years defending against a slip & fall case where the claimant refused to show up for a deposition! Yes the case eventually ended in my favor, but it certainly wasn't cheap. Maybe I can find a sympathetic judge here in the Houston area for a similar claim against Exxon! Things have been more than a little funky here this week with 50 inches of rain. Best of luck to everyone with the future of global warming.
     
  19. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    If I had damage from a 1:800 year flood event I would certainly be seeking damages but not in small claims court.

    I thought this was interesting... I really think the case against tobacco has set up a good game plan.

    'In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court threw out a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 700,000 smokers and their families against tobacco companies. In its ruling, the court found that tobacco companies knowingly sold dangerous products and kept smoking health risks concealed, but that the case could not proceed as a class action. Instead, the court ruled that each case must be proven individually.

    This ruling paved the way for over 8,000 smokers and their families to bring individual lawsuits against the tobacco companies. By 2015, according to RJ Reynolds regulatory filings, the company faced jury verdicts totaling almost $300 million, although many of those cases are in various stages of appeal.'

    As long as this fools fuel addiction continues so should the lawsuits...
     
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  20. SDRick

    SDRick Member

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    The cigarette analogy is a good one to a point although it is far easier suing a poisonous recreational product manufacturer than those creating products that billions of people currently depend on for food, shelter, clothing, medicine, transportation and energy etc.

    The overriding sad news is that whenever you have 7 billion people doing anything, burning oil, natural gas, raise livestock or even burning fire wood for heating and cooking, the side effects to the planet are undesirable. Heck, having 7 billion people brush their teeth, eliminate pharmaceutical laden urine or purchase\consume manufactured goods is detrimental.
     

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