On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court gave allowance to Attorney General Maura Healey to obtain records from ExxonMobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) in order to explore whether the Company concealed its knowledge of the role of fossil fuels in climate change.
The Justices upheld their decision that the Massachusetts Attorney General has jurisdiction to seek records and examine whether the Company had misled investors and consumer for decades.
A similar lawsuit was filed against ExxonMobil by New York’s Attorney General in October 2018. The Company was accused of systematically deceiving investors about the impact that potential climate change regulations could have on its business
Both the Massachusetts and New York investigations began in response to 2015 news reports which revealed documents showing Exxon’s own scientists had concluded that a reduction in fossil fuel combustion is necessary in order to alleviate the impact of climate change.
In 2016, Attorney General Healey proposed a civil investigative demand to research whether Exxon had violated Massachusetts’ consumer-protection law through its marketing and sale of fossil fuel products. Exxon said Healey had no basis to seek documents to conduct a Massachusetts-based investigation because the Company is incorporated only in Texas and New Jersey. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that jurisdiction did exist.
ExxonMobil denies all claims against the company on its corporate website. “We unequivocally reject allegations that ExxonMobil suppressed climate change research contained in media reports that are inaccurate distortions of ExxonMobil’s nearly 40-year history of climate research. We understand that climate risks are real. The company has continuously, publicly and openly researched and discussed the risks of climate change, carbon life cycle analysis and emissions reductions.”