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ExxonMobil Prevails in Landmark $1.6 Billion Trial Over Climate Change Disclosures
- Client News
- December 10, 2019
Paul, Weiss won a complete defense verdict on behalf of Exxon Mobil Corporation in a landmark trial in New York state court alleging that the company misled investors about the risks of climate change to its business. The New York Attorney General had sought $1.6 billion in damages and restitution in the case, the first climate-change lawsuit to be tried to a verdict nationally.
In his 55-page decision, Justice Barry R. Ostrager, New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, rejected the NYAG’s claims that ExxonMobil’s disclosures were misleading or that any alleged misrepresentations were material to investors or analysts. Justice Ostrager dismissed the state’s two remaining claims, a Martin Act claim and a related New York Executive Law 63(12) claim. The state previously dropped its common law and equitable fraud claims during closing statements in early November, but Justice Ostrager noted in his decision that the company would not have been held liable on these claims either, based on the same evidentiary deficiencies. “The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Justice Ostrager wrote in his ruling. The AG “produced no testimony from any investor who claimed to have been misled by any disclosure, even though the Office of the Attorney General had previously represented it would call such individuals as trial witnesses.”
Justice Ostrager also found all the ExxonMobil witnesses to be credible, and that the testimony of NYAG’s expert witnesses “was eviscerated on cross-examination and by ExxonMobil’s expert witnesses.”