Lieff Cabraser has been retained by the California Attorney General’s office in litigation against five of the largest oil and gas companies in the world over allegations the companies misled the public about climate change.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court in September 2023, claims that Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have known for decades that reliance on fossil fuels would cause catastrophic harm to the country, including California, but suppressed that information while also actively pushing disinformation.  Their deception caused a delayed societal response to global warming, and the State is suffering terrible climate harms as a result. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the People of the State of California, seeks to hold the companies accountable for the lies they have told and the damage they have caused.

Specifically, the State seeks the creation of a nuisance abatement fund to finance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts; injunctive relief to protect California’s natural resources from pollution, impairment, and destruction, and to prevent the companies from making any further false or misleading statements about the contribution of fossil fuel combustion to climate change; damages; and statutory penalties.

“Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades — that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change — but have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment. Enough is enough,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “With this lawsuit, California becomes the largest geographic area and the largest economy to take these giant oil companies to court. From extreme heat to drought and water shortages, the climate crisis they have caused is undeniable. It is time they pay to abate the harm they have caused. We will meet the moment and fight tirelessly on behalf of all Californians, in particular those who live in environmental justice communities.”

“We are honored that our firm has been selected by Attorney General Bonta to assist in this historic climate change litigation,” noted Lieff Cabraser partner Robert J. Nelson. “It’s time to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their deceptions and the devastation their lies have caused.”

About Lieff Cabraser’s Environmental Law Practice

Lieff Cabraser possesses the expertise and financial resources to thoroughly investigate environmental cases and hold the defendants accountable. For over 50 years, we have successfully prosecuted cases against many of the world’s most powerful corporations, obtaining compensation for families and property owners harmed by toxic environmental exposures. We represented victims of the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2015 Plains oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, and the Huntington Beach oil spill in 2021.  We are currently advancing cases aimed at fixing chronic hazardous water supply problems in Benton Harbor, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi, and assisting the California Attorney General in climate change litigation on behalf of all Californians.

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