Massachusetts court rules ExxonMobil cannot use anti-SLAPP law to dodge climate lawsuit
© WikiMedia Commons (WhisperToMe)
Massachusetts court rules ExxonMobil cannot use anti-SLAPP law to dodge climate lawsuit

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Monday denied ExxonMobil Corp.’s (ExxonMobil) motion to dismiss a climate deception lawsuit on “anti-SLAPP” grounds.

The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released a statement following the SJC’s decision affirming the rejection of ExxonMobil’s “anti-SLAPP” motion to dismiss by the Suffolk Superior Court. Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are lawsuits which are designed to intimidate opponents through litigation.

The complaint was filed in 2019 against ExxonMobil “for misleading Massachusetts investors about the fossil fuel-driven climate change risks to its business and deceptively advertising its fossil fuel products to Massachusetts consumers.”

On appeal, ExxonMobil argued the Attorney General’s lawsuit improperly targeted ExxonMobil’s protected “petitioning” activities. However, the SJC agreed with the Attorney General that the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP law “does not apply to civil enforcement actions by the Attorney General.”

Healey stated the following regarding the SJC’s decision:

Once again, Exxon’s attacks on my office and our case have been rejected by the courts. Today’s ruling is a resounding victory in our work to stop Exxon from lying to investors and consumers in our state. Exxon’s repeated attempts to stonewall our lawsuit have been baseless, and this effort was no different. We look forward to proceeding with our case and having our day in court to show how Exxon is breaking the law and to put an end to the deception once and for all.