Complaint: Honolulu Sues Gas Companies (For Nuisance) To Recover The Cost Of Sea-Level Rise
by Robert Thomas, Inverse Condemnation, March 10, 2020
Make what you will of this 205-paragraph, 114 page (including 128 footnotes) Complaint, filed yesterday by the Acting Corporation Counsel for the City and County of Honolulu and a battery of outside lawyers against gasoline producers, alleging that they are responsible to pay the costs of sea-level rise and other symptoms of what the complaint calls the "climate crisis."
It's a challenging read, but the fun part is in the claims for relief (fast forward to page 99), which include (for you property mavens) nuisance, private nuisance, and trespass (by flooding), as well as affirmative and negligent failure to warn of the dangers of fossil fuel products.
Will this lawsuit go anywhere? Is a big municipal payday in the cards? Will it get to a local jury? Your guess is as good as ours. But we'll be following along, for sure.
PDF: Complaint, City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco LP, No. 1CCV-20-0000380 (Haw. 1st Cir. Mar. 9, 2020)
Big Q: Should the city be suing fossil fuel companies for climate-change damage? 76% "No; case seems weak, frivolous"
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MAP Statement on Honolulu Filing Climate Litigation: Collaboration, Not Litigation, is the Best Way to Fight Climate Change
From Manufacturers Accountability Project, March 9, 2020
Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the City of Honolulu filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:
“Honolulu’s decision to move forward with litigation ignores the reality that these lawsuits have nothing to do with fighting climate change and will lead only to increased costs for local residents.
“People throughout Honolulu and the entire state of Hawai’i need energy to power their homes and businesses, as well as the ability to bring tourists, goods and services to the Islands.
“The truth is that the best way to fight climate change is to engage with the manufacturing community on the major innovations that will allow us to source and use energy more efficiently, not scapegoat the companies that manufacture the energy we all need and use every day.
“If Honolulu really wanted to do something about climate change it would work with manufacturers — as the overwhelming majority of communities have done — and not join this fringe litigation movement.”
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