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Corporate Climate Fraud

Inves­ti­ga­tions and Subpoenas


  • April 2016

    In April 2016, the attor­neys gen­er­al of Mass­a­chu­setts and New York ini­ti­at­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion into whether Exxon Mobil vio­lat­ed state law by fail­ing to dis­close infor­ma­tion about cli­mate change-relat­ed risks to its business.

  • Feb­ru­ary 2017

    In Feb­ru­ary 2017, the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Com­mit­tee on Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­nol­o­gy issued a sub­poe­na to the attor­neys gen­er­al request­ing that they turn over priv­i­leged and pro­tect­ed doc­u­ments relat­ing to the state-led investigation.

  • March 2017

    The attor­neys gen­er­al of Mass­a­chu­setts and New York object­ed to the sub­poe­na and request­ed that the Com­mit­tee with­draw its unprece­dent­ed and unlaw­ful sub­poe­na for doc­u­ments relat­ing to the inves­ti­ga­tion. The attor­neys gen­er­al assert­ed that the Com­mit­tee has no author­i­ty over a state law inves­ti­ga­tion of poten­tial secu­ri­ties, busi­ness, and con­sumer fraud, and not­ed that no con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee in his­to­ry had ever sub­poe­naed a sit­ting state attor­ney gen­er­al. Fif­teen addi­tion­al attor­neys gen­er­al also came for­ward and urged the Com­mit­tee to with­draw its unprece­dent­ed subpoena.

Retal­ia­to­ry Law­suits by Exxon Mobil


  • June 2016

    In response to the sub­poe­na, Exxon Mobil brought a suit against the attor­neys gen­er­al in a fed­er­al dis­trict court in Texas that argued that the attor­neys gen­er­al vio­lat­ed Exxon Mobil’s right to be pro­tect­ed from unrea­son­able search­es and seizures. 

  • March 2017

    In March 2017, the fed­er­al dis­trict court judge in Texas decid­ed in favor of the request made by the attor­neys gen­er­al to trans­fer the retal­ia­to­ry law­suit to fed­er­al dis­trict court in New York.

  • March 2018

    As request­ed by the attor­neys gen­er­al, the fed­er­al dis­trict court in New York dis­missed the retal­ia­to­ry law­suit in March 2018 for fail­ing to state a plau­si­ble claim. 

  • April 2018

    In April 2018, Exxon noti­fied the fed­er­al dis­trict court in New York that it was appeal­ing the dis­missal of its law­suit against Mass­a­chu­setts and New York to the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals.

  • Octo­ber 2018

    In Octo­ber 2018, Mass­a­chu­setts Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mau­ra Healey and New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bar­bara Under­wood filed briefs in the Sec­ond Cir­cuit, request­ing that the court uphold the low­er court deci­sion as Exxon failed to state a claim. That same month, a coali­tion of 20 attor­neys gen­er­al filed an ami­cus brief in sup­port of dis­miss­ing Exxon’s suit, not­ing that the suit would inter­fere with states’ long­stand­ing inves­ti­ga­to­ry and reg­u­la­to­ry respon­si­bil­i­ties to pro­tect cit­i­zens from fraud.

  • Jan­u­ary 2019

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, Michigan’s new attor­ney Dana Nes­sel with­drew the state from an ami­cus brief it had filed along with oth­er states in sup­port of Exxon in the Sec­ond Cir­cuit litigation. 

  • March 2019

    In March 2019, new­ly sworn-in New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James moved to dis­miss the retal­ia­to­ry law­suit against New York in light of the office of the attor­ney gen­er­al clos­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of Exxon and fil­ing a suit against Exxon for mis­lead­ing its investors (see below).

  • Jan­u­ary 2019

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, the Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States declined to hear Exxon’s appeal of the Mass­a­chu­setts Supreme Court ruling.