New York State Attorney General Letitia James has failed in an attempt to prove that colossal fossil ExxonMobil defrauded its investors out of up to US$1.6 billion by hiding the true costs it would face from climate change regulation.
“New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager said that James’s office failed to prove that ExxonMobil violated anti-fraud laws” such as the state’s 1921 Martin Act, The Hill reports.
“The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Ostrager wrote in his decision. He added his decision didn’t exonerate the company for “contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases in the production of its fossil fuel products.”
James had “accused the company of using two different accounting methods when making projections about business costs in countries that were implementing policies to fight climate change,” The Hill writes. But “the court agreed that the Attorney General failed to make a case, even with the extremely low threshold of the Martin Act in its favour,” an Exxon spokesperson said in a statement.Exxon still faces lawsuits from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, as well as its own shareholders.