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Exxon Mobil Gets Trial Win In Case Over Records On Cost Of Climate Change

Exxon Mobil Gets Trial Win In Case Over Records On Cost Of Climate Change

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) got a win Tuesday in an important securities fraud lawsuit when a judge ruled the state of New York failed to prove the company tried to hide the cost of climate regulations from investors.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager found the plaintiffs failed to prove Exxon broke state security laws by misleading investors on the costs of meeting future climate-related regulations. The state alleged Exxon effectively kept two separate sets of records on those costs: one internal and one public.

The closely-watched case, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, is one of several filed against oil companies by various local or state governments over some element of the climate issue, but was the first to go to trial.

Securities Fraud At Issue, Not Culpability For Climate Change

Ostrager emphasized that the case wasn't about any potential culpability on the part of the oil company for climate change, which wasn't at issue in the lawsuit.

"ExxonMobil does not dispute either that its operations produce greenhouse gases or that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change," Ostrager wrote. "But ExxonMobil is in the business of producing energy, and this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case."

Former Exxon Mobil CEO and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among those called to testify in the case, which was the culmination of an investigation by New York that lasted more than three years.

Exxon Claims Vindication

Exxon had called the investigation and court case "baseless" and said it was proven right about that by the judge's decision.

"We provided our investors with accurate information on the risks of climate change," Exxon spokesman Casey Norton said in a statement released to the media. "The court agreed that the Attorney General failed to make a case."

Exxon Mobil's stock closed down 0.8% Tuesday at $69.05 per share.

Related Links:

Did Exxon Mobil Lie To Shareholders About Global Warming?

Option Trader Bets $1.3M On Exxon Mobil Upside Through 2022

Photo credit: Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia

Posted-In: climate change Exxon Climate Change Letitia James oil and gas stocksNews Legal Best of Benzinga


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