SE Texas Record

Thursday, November 21, 2019

AG Healey asks court to reconsider discovery order in Exxon climate change case

By David Yates | Oct 20, 2016

Oildrill 01

ABILENE – Earlier this month, a federal judge found Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey might have acted in bad faith when subpoenaing ExxonMobil, which the Democratic AG contends buried information on climate change for the past 40 years.

On Oct. 20, Healey filed a motion requesting U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade grant her motion to dismiss ExxonMobil’s lawsuit against her, or in the alternative reconsider and vacate his Oct. 13 order permitting jurisdictional discovery by both parties, court records show.

In his order, Kinkeade found Healey’s remarks about the outcome of the

Exxon investigation “to be concerning” to and the “forgoing allegations” about her, “if true, may constitute bad faith” in issuing the civil investigative demand.

“Attorney General Healey’s comments and actions before she issued the CID require the Court to request further information so that it can make a more thoughtful determination about whether this lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” the order states.

Healey issued the state civil administrative subpoena to investigate ExxonMobil’s alleged violations of consumer protection laws through its marketing and sale of fossil fuel-derived products and securities.

The AG believes the documents could show ExxonMobil knew about the connection between fossil fuels and climate change as far back as 1977 and worked to discredit climate science.

In response, ExxonMobil filed suit against Healey on Sept. 7 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, asking the court to issue an injunction prohibiting the subpoena.

ExxonMobil argues that Healey’s investigation violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect free speech and prohibit unreasonable searches.

The complaint also contends that the investigation violates Massachusetts’ four-year statute of limitations and asserts the company does not conduct business in the state.

In the event Judge Kinkeade neither dismisses the complaint nor reconsiders his Oct. 13 order, Healey requests he transfer the action to the District of Massachusetts or stay the order to allow her to seek immediate review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 10 other state attorneys general have backed ExxonMobil Corp.’s effort to squash the subpoena

The 11-member group is facing off against another group of attorneys general who are working to bring about heavier climate change initiatives.

Healey is among a group of state attorneys general calling themselves “AGs United for Clean Power,” which has vowed to defend climate change initiatives made by President Barack Obama and to encourage the next president to push for even more aggressive climate control action.

The coalition, according to Paxton’s office, is using its official authority to go after one side of a policy debate regarding climate change.

Healey isn’t the first attorney general to subpoena ExxonMobil. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker filed a March 15 subpoena of the energy corporation. Walker, however, withdrew his subpoena Sept. 7, court records show.

Case No. 4:16-cv-00469-K

Want to get notified whenever we write about Texas Office of the Attorney General ?

Sign-up Next time we write about Texas Office of the Attorney General, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

Texas Office of the Attorney General