An action brought by the Attorney General of New York State on behalf of the people of the state against Exxon Mobil alleging a fraudulent scheme to deceive investors about company management of the risks posed by climate change regulation, will go to trial on Tuesday October 22 in New York Supreme Court. A summons and complaint were filed back on October 24, 2018. The complaint alleges that Exxon claimed to consistently apply an escalating proxy cost of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) to its business in investment decisions, business planning, oil and gas reserves, and estimates for future demand. The complaint further alleges that the company did not apply the proxy cost that it represented to the public it was using and applied no proxy costs to its GHG emissions at all before 2016. The action is being brought under the Martin Act (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §§ 352 et seq.), the N.Y. Executive Law § 63(12), and the common law. The complaint seeks to enjoin Exxon from engaging in any ongoing and future violations of N.Y. law, a comprehensive review of Exxon’s failure to apply a proxy cost that is consistent with its representations, damages caused by the fraudulent and deceptive acts, disgorgement of amount obtained in violation of N.Y. law, restitution of all funds obtained from investors in connection with the fraudulent and deceptive acts, equitable relief, and costs and fees to the state.
The trial will be before Justice Barry R. Ostrager. Exxon is being represented by attorneys at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton. The bench trial is expected to last three weeks, with a conclusion date of November 12. No extra time will be provided for the trial since the Justice has another trial beginning on November 13. Both sides have submitted their proposed exhibit lists, with hundreds of exhibits proposed by both sides. In a letter from Justice Ostrager dated October 18, he noted that the court received 29 single spaced pages listing the proposed trial exhibits. Many of the proposed exhibits are subject to objections from either of the parties. Justice Ostrager notes that the court will not consider the contents of any document about which there is no testimony. Justice Ostrager noted that he intends to render a decision no more than 30 days after the post-trial submissions are made. Such submissions will be due within a “reasonable amount of time.”
Anyone interested in finding the filings associated with the case can go to the New York Web Civil Supreme case search and search for Index no: 0452044/2018.