(Reuters) – The US Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of BP PLC, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and other energy companies contesting a lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore claiming monetary damages. from them due to costs caused by global climate change.
The 7-1 judgment, written by the conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, came up with a technical legal issue that could help companies in their attempts to get the case tried in federal court, which they prefer, instead of state court, as the city benefits because it is seen as a more receptive place.
The Supreme Court ruled that Richmond, Virginia-based Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not properly analyze whether the case could be heard in federal court.
The Democratic-controlled Maryland lawsuit targeted 21
The Supreme Court's ruling could affect a dozen similar lawsuits brought by various U.S. states, cities and counties.
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor commented in the ruling. Conservative justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, probably because he owns shares in two oil companies involved in the disputes.
The legal issue concerned a provision of U.S. law that sets limits on appellate courts reviewing decisions of federal court judges. to refer a case back to the State Court. The companies have said that the 4th district in this case had a great deal of room to review a district court's decision due to a provision that allows an appeal of such decisions when a case directly affects federal officials or authorities.
The energy companies have claimed that energy production is an inherent federal issue, which means that the case must be tried in federal court. Greenhouse gas emissions that cross state and international lines are also an issue that cannot be addressed under state law, the companies added.
With Congress long divided over measures to combat climate change, the trials represent an attempt to force action through disputes rather. than legislation.