Jenner & Block

Client Advisory: Federal Appellate Court Allows Public Nuisance Claims for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In this advisory, Partner Gabrielle Sigel and Associates Patricia L. Boye-Williams and Michael R. Strong discuss a ground-breaking decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that held on September 21, 2009 that 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 (“GHG”) emissions contribute to global warming.  The appellate court ruled that plaintiffs’ claims were justiciable, that each plaintiff had standing to sue, that all plaintiffs stated a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that the federal common law cause of action was not displaced by federal statutes or regulation.