Ninth Circuit Affirms District Court in Kivalina Climate-Change Case


On Friday, September 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important opinion in the developing area of climate-change litigation, affirming the dismissal of a lawsuit that threatened the energy sector with potentially limitless liability.

In Native Village of Kivalina, et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp., No. 09-17490 (9th Cir. Sept. 21, 2012), the city of Kivalina — located on a small island off the coast of Alaska — sued several oil and power companies to recover US$400 million, alleging in public nuisance claims that the companies “tortiously” contributed to the global warming that has severely eroded the island’s shoreline, requiring its residents to be relocated. The district court dismissed Kivalina’s claims on two grounds: 1) plaintiffs lack standing because their injuries are not “fairly traceable” to any of the defendants’ alleged wrongdoing; and 2) because the issues raised by the complaint require a legislative, not a judicial, solution, the claims are barred by the political question doctrine.

The Ninth Circuit, without reaching the issue of standing, affirmed the dismissal on the ground that federal public-nuisance actions based on global warming have been displaced by the Clean Air Act.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© White & Case LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


White & Case LLP on:

JD Supra Readers' Choice 2016 Awards
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.