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Exxon to face trial for fraud against climate change



(Reuters) – A Massachusetts judge has rejected Exxon Mobil Corps' attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about its role in climate change.

In a released decision On Wednesday, the Supreme Court Karen Green in Boston said that Exxon did not show that the mood in October 2019 was intended to silence its views on climate change, including those that Healey and her constituents could question.

"Climate change is undeniably a topic that has attracted the government's attention," Justice Green wrote. "It is clear from the context in which they were made that many Exxon statements referred to in the complaint are not protected."

Exxon said it was considering its next legal steps: "This case lacks merit, and we look forward to defending the company," a company spokesman said in an email.

The decision came a month after the engine No. 1

, an activist hedge fund focusing on climate change, won three seats in Exxon's 12 members, an unexpected blow to an energy industry facing growing investors' complaints about global warming.

Ms Healey had accused Irving, Texas -exx-based Exxon to downplay the impact of its fossil fuel products on climate change and the risks that climate change posed to its operations, in an attempt to increase profits and its share price.

The lawsuit seeks civil sanctions and other relief.

claimed that they wanted to inform the public about the environmental benefits of their products and about its climate policy.

It had sought redundancy under Massachusetts law against strategic lawsuits against public participation, or against SLAPP law. Such trials can scare the speakers into silence.

"Today's decision represents an important step forward for my office's work to hold Exxon accountable," said Healey, a Democrat, in a statement.

In December 2019, a new State Judge rejected a lawsuit by State Attorney General Letitia James, accusing Exxon of deceiving investors by hiding the real costs of regulating climate change. Catalog

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