"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 a 55-page ruling.
In a sweeping 55-page ruling, Ostrager wrote that Exxon Mobil employees called by NY to bolster its case were "uniformly favorable to Exxon Mobil" and that employee witnesses were "comprehensive and meticulous" in their work. She didn't say whether the state intends to appeal the decision.
Exxon Mobil did not mislead investors on the true cost of addressing climate change.
Cities and counties across the United States have also sued Exxon and other oil companies seeking funds to pay for seawalls and other infrastructure to guard against rising sea levels caused by climate change. The attorney general's office had accused ExxonMobil of deceiving investors on its management of the risks of climate change but offered no testimony "from any investor who claims to have been misled". After pulling millions of documents from ExxonMobil and interviewing dozens of witnesses, ny was forced to abandon its initial theory that the company accepted global warming internally but denied it to the public. "In so doing, ExxonMobil defrauded its investors under the Martin Act".
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil last month, while a dozen localities have filed lawsuits against oil-and-gas companies seeking compensation for the costs of hardening infrastructure against climate change.
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Gun-Britt Sundstrom said the choice of Handke had been interpreted as if literature stood above politics and she did not agree. We all know who's guilty", wrote Amanpour, the chief global anchor for CNN who covered the war as a young reporter.
The judge was particularly harsh toward the state's expert witnesses including Eli Bartov, a New York University accounting professor who also works for plaintiff lawyers in securities fraud cases and charged the state some $500,000 at $1,050 an hour for "rambling" testimony.
The State of NY maintained that ExxonMobil had deliberately sought to mislead investors by misrepresenting these proxy costs: that the company had essentially maintained one (lower) set of estimated costs for internal use while publishing a higher set of costs for investors, a practice that could have led to investors overestimating the company's level of preparedness for climate change policy shocks. The office argued how the company planned for the costs were of interest to investors.
New York's defeat comes after federal courts in NY and California dismissed lawsuits accusing ExxonMobil and other energy companies of causing a public nuisance through the sale of their products.
Ostrager wrote in Tuesday's decision that the evidence supported the company's argument that the two types of projected costs were "different metrics". He said what the trial did show is that "ExxonMobil has a culture of disciplined analysis, planning, accounting and reporting".
The judge made a point, though, to spell out exactly what the case was and was not about: "Nothing in this opinion is meant to absolve ExxonMobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gasses in the production of its fossil fuel products", Ostranger wrote.
New York's attorney general filed the lawsuit against Exxon in 2018, after years of investigation. "ExxonMobil is taking significant steps to minimize the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our own operations". Exxon asked the judge to rule on those counts anyway, saying the state had tarnished the company's reputation in making its case on them.