BOSTON, May 24, 2022 — Attorney General Maura Healey today released the following statement in response to the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) affirming a trial court order denying ExxonMobil’s “anti-SLAPP” motion to dismiss her office’s lawsuit against the company 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.
Today’s ruling affirms the Suffolk Superior Court’s denial of ExxonMobil’s special motion to dismiss the case under the state’s “anti-SLAPP” law. ExxonMobil had argued that AG Healey’s lawsuit improperly targeted the company’s protected petitioning activities. On appeal, as it did before the Superior Court, the AG’s Office argued that the law does not apply to state law enforcement actions, and the SJC agreed.
“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.”
In October 2019, AG Healey sued Exxon Mobil Corporation for misleading both investors and consumers about the risks that climate change poses to its business and the climate dangers of its fossil fuel products. Among other things, the complaint alleges that ExxonMobil deceived Massachusetts consumers by marketing and selling its products as clean, greenhouse-gas reducing and beneficial to the environment, and falsely promoting itself as an environmentally responsible clean energy leader working to address climate change. In June 2020, the AG’s Office filed an amended complaint against ExxonMobil, adding new allegations, including how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerability of ExxonMobil’s business model to market shifts like those that climate change is already causing.
Handling the case are attorneys and staff from AG Healey’s Energy and Environment, Public Protection and Advocacy, Government, and Executive Bureaus. The SJC appeal was argued by Energy and Environment Bureau Senior Appellate Counsel Seth Schofield, with assistance from Energy and Environment Bureau Deputy Chief Christophe Courchesne, Chief Legal Counsel Richard Johnston, and the Office of the State Solicitor. All publicly filed documents related to AG Healey’s Exxon litigation can be found here.