Sixteen AGs Filed Amicus Brief Supporting Climate Liability Case in Oakland and San Francisco

California Attorney General Rob Bonta led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting Oakland and San Francisco in their consolidated case against fossil fuel companies, seeking to hold them accountable for deception about the harms of fossil fuel use (City of Oakland v. BP et al.). In their amicus brief, the AGs urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a ruling by a federal district court that said the case could proceed in state court, arguing that states still have the authority to respond to and adjudicate local issues even if those issues have a national (or global) effect. The California AGO’s press release summarizes the case history as follows: “San Francisco and Oakland originally filed separate cases in state court in September 2017, [but] the cases were removed to federal court and consolidated. The plaintiffs then filed a motion to remand the cases to state court, which the federal district court initially denied. The Ninth Circuit reversed on appeal in May 2020, finding that Oakland and San Francisco’s state nuisance claims do not arise under federal law. Subsequently, the federal district court granted the plaintiffs’ renewed motion to remand the cases to state court. The case is currently pending in Ninth Circuit after the oil companies’ November 2022 appeal of the district court’s decision that ruled the suit belongs in state court.”