Saturday, August 20, 2011

Climate linked Hurricane Katrina class action re-launched – new legalarguments

Home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina Gulfport, Mississippi
(Photo by Michele Sandusky)
Even after the dismissing ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut ”climate damage litigation is far from over”, says one of the best blogs in our field. New theories will be put forward.

What is the proof that climate change litigation will continue? On May 27, 2011 an old Hurricane Katrina File, Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., was re-launched, this time with over 90 named corporate defendants: “… oil companies, utilities and coal companies, and chemical companies claims in three counts of public and private nuisance, trespassing and negligence. But it also includes, almost as afterthoughts, a strict liability claim and a conspiracy claim. It concludes with a count for a declaratory judgment that federal law does not preempt state law claims.”

The plaintiffs do not argue about climate policy, but just go for damage compensation. Damages include indirect ones like lower real estate prices and increased insurance rates. This is not the only innovative argument. The plaintiffs also argue that the defendants increased the risks of damages instead of simply arguing that the defendants caused the damages. And again the insurance rates are taken as an indicator.

Update: Read what Obama is doing about climate change

Monday, August 15, 2011

Overview on climate change litigation lawsuits in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Building
(Image by Matt H. Wade)
The U.S. is currently leading in Climate Change litigation attempts. A U.S. law firm publishes and keeps up-to-date an inventory of climate change litigation lawsuits in the U.S. on the website

A list of (so far all dismissed) climate change liability lawsuits in the U.S. can be found at

An overview on recent trends with regard to climate damage compensation lawsuits in the U.S. can be found on the costalcare or chinadaily websites. The author notes a sharp increase of the number of climate-related lawsuits. Law firms react to the new market potential, and potential target companies attend specialized law seminars though no compensation claim has been successful so far.

Update: Read more about positive decisions in the U.S. such as with the Hurricane Katrina or BP oil spill case and and some negative results such as with the Comer v. Murphy Oil case.