Description: Exxon Mobil Corporation petition seeking pre-suit depositions and documents in anticipation of potential claims of abuse of process, conspiracy, infringement of Exxon's rights in connection with California municipalities' climate change lawsuits.
In re Exxon Mobil Corp.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/08/2018 Petition Download Petition for pre-suit depositions filed. Exxon Asked Texas State Court to Allow Depositions of Municipal Officials and Lawyers Involved in Climate Change Tort Lawsuits Against Fossil Fuel Companies. On January 8, 2018, Exxon Mobil Corporation filed a petition in Texas state court requesting an order allowing the company to conduct pre-suit depositions and obtain documents pertaining to potential claims of abuse of process, civil conspiracy, and violations of Exxon’s constitutional rights in connection with “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation in California” that were “attempting to stifle ExxonMobil’s exercise, in Texas, of its First Amendment right to participate in the national dialogue about climate change and climate policy.” Exxon cited the tort lawsuits filed by California municipalities, as well as investigations being conducted by state attorneys general. The information sought by Exxon included the municipalities’ communications with third parties “about the real purposes of the litigation” or risk disclosures contained in their municipal bonds. Exxon alleged that the “stark and irreconcilable conflict” between the municipalities’ allegations in the lawsuits and their disclosures in bond offerings indicated that the lawsuits were brought “not because of a bona fide belief in any tortious conduct by the defendants or actual damage to their jurisdictions, but instead to coerce ExxonMobil and others operating in the Texas energy sector to adopt policies aligned with those favored by local politicians in California.” Exxon also alleged that the municipalities’ allegations were at odds with California’s actions seeking to recoup the fair market value of fossil fuels extracted on state public lands and that the municipalities did not acknowledge their own contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Exxon asserted that the respondents named in the petition—which included municipal officials and attorneys—had made “repeated efforts … to conceal and possibly destroy evidence potentially relevant” to Exxon’s claims.