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.
City of San Francisco v. Exxon Mobil Corp.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/06/2018 Brief Download Brief filed by City of San Francisco et al. California Local Governments and Officials Filed Briefs in Appeals of Texas Court’s Order Finding Them Subject to Its Jurisdiction. In July, California cities and counties, local officials, and an outside attorney filed briefs in their appeals of a Texas state court determination that it had personal jurisdiction over the appellants in a proceeding initiated by Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) to pursue pre-suit discovery. The appellants are plaintiffs (and officials and attorneys for the plaintiffs) in lawsuits seeking to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel companies liable for the companies’ contributions to climate change. Exxon sought to conduct depositions and obtain documents relating 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.” The appellants argued that there were no acts or contacts that could form a basis for a Texas state court to have personal jurisdiction over the appellants in its potential lawsuit. 07/06/2018 Brief Download Brief filed by City of Oakland et al. 07/06/2018 Brief Download Brief filed by County of San Mateo et al. 04/09/2018 Notice of Appeal Download Notice of appeal filed by City of Oakland et al. 04/09/2018 Notice of Appeal Download Notice of appeal filed by County of San Mateo et al. 04/09/2018 Notice of Appeal Download Notice of appeal filed by City of San Francisco et al.
In re Exxon Mobil Corp.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/24/2018 Not Available Download Findings of fact and conclusions of law issued in support of denial of special appearances. A Texas court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in which the court concluded that it would have personal jurisdiction over potential defendants in a lawsuit contemplated by Exxon Mobil Corporation against parties who participated in planning California local governments' lawsuits against fossil fuel companies. The court concluded that Exxon's potential claims of First Amendment violations, abuse of process, and civil conspiracy would arise from the potential defendants' contact with Texas and that exercising jurisdiction over the defendants "would comport with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." In addition, the court said Texas had "a substantial state interest in adjudicating claims concerning constitutional torts committed in Texas against residents." 03/27/2018 Request Request filed by Exxon for findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the court's denial of special appearances. 03/14/2018 Order Special appearances denied. 03/01/2018 Objection Download Objections and response to respondents' special appearances filed by ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil Argued That California Municipalities and Officials Would Be Subject to Texas Court’s Personal Jurisdiction. Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil) argued to a Texas state court that it should deny special appearances filed by potential defendants and witnesses in ExxonMobil’s possible lawsuit against California cities and counties that have filed lawsuits seeking to hold ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies liable for climate change damages. The potential defendants in ExxonMobil’s threatened lawsuit also include officials and lawyers for the California cities and counties. ExxonMobil argued to the court that if it brought its lawsuit alleging constitutional violations, abuse of process, and civil conspiracy, the defendants would be subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction because they had committed intentional torts in Texas. 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.