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Posted on: July 7, 2022

Maui County prevails in keeping Big Oil Climate Change Lawsuit in State Court

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in favor of Maui County to keep its ongoing litigation against Big Oil in Hawaii state courts, instead of moving the lawsuit to federal court.

In an attempt to have their case heard in a friendlier forum, Shell Oil Company, Chevron Corp. and the other fossil fuel company defendants sought to move the County’s case from state court to federal court. After the Hawaii U.S. District Court ruled against them in February 2021, the oil companies appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court. Today, the Ninth Circuit confirmed that Maui’s case must be heard in state court, not federal courts.

“Keeping this case in our state court is important because it means we will have our claims heard here in Hawaii where the damage is occurring,” said County Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey. “We are looking forward to trying this case, laying out the significant evidence that we have of the damage these companies knowingly created.”

“The constant reminders of climate change are all around us,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “We’re coping with another severe drought season creating ideal conditions for wildfires.  Our rainy seasons have brought intense flooding. These changes came from using their products, while they withheld information on the environmental damage they cause. We are grateful for this victory, and Maui County will continue to pursue justice regardless of how long it takes.”

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