Comer v. Murphy Oil

Date: September 28, 2012

Frustrated by federal inaction, ideologically motivated litigants began advancing lawsuits in the federal courts in order to set greenhouse gas restrictions by judicial fiat. In this case litigants sued a handful of energy companies for allegedly causing Hurricane Katrina to be more destructive than it would have otherwise been. They argued that the companies had contributed to global warming and that global warming had caused the hurricane to be more intense.

The NFIB Legal Center filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that only Congress can establish federal greenhouse gas policies. Since Congress has decided--for political reasons--not to regulate greenhouse gases, the courts should not limit emissions. We also urged the court to reject the litigant's twisted logic and warned that we could expect a flood of lawsuits against potentially any business in the United States if the suit is allowed to move forward. 

This case was originally dismissed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississipi. The plaintiffs then appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where they prevailed. At that point the defendant companies asked the Fifth Circuit to rehear their case en banc. In a surprising turn of events, the Fifth Circuit vacated the panel decision, which had reversed the District Court's dismissal. Thus, the case was to be dismissed. But, once more the plaintiffs have appealed to the Fifth Circuit and once more NFIB Legal Center has filed in opposition to their radical legal theories.

Status:  Pending - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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