California Cities Sue Oil Companies over Climate Change

Global WarmingCity attorneys in San Francisco and Oakland, California, sued five oil companies in two coordinated lawsuits on Tuesday, arguing that the courts should hold these companies responsible for climate change, and force them to financially compensate the cities for harm the plaintiffs claim those companies are causing to the planet’s environment.

The two cities are suing five of the top petroleum companies from around the world: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile, and Royal Dutch Shell. These local municipalities are suing them under California law for being a public nuisance.

The lawsuits use virtually identical language, like accusing the oil companies with language such as, “For decades, Defendants have known that their fossil fuels pose risks of ‘severe’ and ‘catastrophic’ impacts on the global climate through the works and warnings of their own scientists or through their trade association.”

The cities’ complaints impugn the worst possible motives to the oil companies, comparing their actions to a sustained “propaganda campaign to deceive the public” to encourage “fuel consumption at levels that (as Defendants knew) [were] certain to severely harm the public.”

The lawsuits are demanding money from the companies on a scale to offset all of the effects of climate change in those cities. While the lawsuit does not provide specific amounts, the plaintiffs could advance theories that would claim that those numbers are in the billions of dollars.

By bringing these claims in the county courts in San Francisco and Alameda, the cities’ attorneys are setting them on a legal course where the justices of the California Supreme Court—a reliably liberal court—would ultimately decide the financial liability of the oil companies.

One immediate step the oil companies could take is to remove these lawsuits to federal court. They could invoke a federal district court’s “diversity jurisdiction” under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the plaintiffs are from different states or nations than all of the defendants and the amount being sued for exceeds $75,000.

Such a move would take any appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where critics would fear the chances of a leftwing outcome, but would also preserve the option that the final word on this case would ultimately come from the U.S. Supreme Court instead of the California Supreme Court.

The first lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Herrera v. BP, No. CGC-17-561370 in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco.

The second lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Oakland City Attorney v. BP, No. RG-17-875889 in the Superior Court of the County of Alameda.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

Competing ideas on how to stop human trafficking prevent steps forward

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Before she became district attorney in Alameda County, Nancy O’Malley prosecuted rape cases. She soon came to recognize a number of young women and girls who cycled through the courtroom.

Their stories were always the same, she says. They loved their boyfriends, who coerced them into selling sex to other men.

“That is when we started seeing that there was money attached to sexual exploitation,” she said. A lot of money.

Two decades later, the trade of forced sex and labor now has a name and its own criminal statute — human trafficking. And in recent years, as advocates and prosecutors like O’Malley have worked to push the issue to the political forefront, there has been no shortage of proposed solutions in the state Capitol.

More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets. But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem. Critics say the competing proposals present a difficult path forward. …

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