Westlaw News

IN BRIEF: 4th Circuit sends Baltimore climate change case back to state court

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday sent back to state court a lawsuit in which the city of Baltimore accuses BP PLC, Chevron Corp and another 23 oil and gas companies of contributing to climate-change-related harm including sea-level rise and droughts, in the first ruling by a federal appeals court over whether such lawsuits can proceed under state law, according to experts.

A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the companies’ proposal that the case should proceed in federal court, because the oil and gas was produced at the direction of federal officers, including pursuant to U.S. military contracts, among other reasons. The panel said they failed to make the needed argument that it raises exclusively federal questions.

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