Jenner & Block

"Paving the Way for GHG Public Nuisance Claims?" Law360

Partner Gabrielle Sigel and Associates Patricia Boye-Williams and Michael Strong examine the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s recent ruling that held eight states, New York City and three land trusts could bring public nuisance claims against owners of some of the largest U.S. electric power plants, alleging that the plants’ greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming. According to the authors, the appellate court’s ruling was the first federal appellate court to allow toxic tort global warming claims to get past motions to dismiss asserting lack of standing and political question issues. The authors note that the Second Circuit’s decision is one of several pending or recently decided cases in which parties are looking to the federal courts to attack GHG emissions, and that depending on further development in these cases, “GHG emitters could find themselves facing a wide range of litigation in federal and state courts.”