US Corporate Law News: New York City sues fossil fuel companies for climate change costs, and divests from fossil fuel investments

In early January 2018, New York City initiated a climate change lawsuit against five global fossil fuel companies for knowingly disregarding and concealing risks associated with climate-related impacts caused by their production and sale of fossil fuels. The city asserted public and private nuisance and trespass claims based on the companies' carbon and methane emissions and alleged that, as a result of the companies' practices, the city has been suffering from severe climate changes that will incur billions of dollars in expenses to protect and strengthen its infrastructure. To successfully plead its case, the city must establish proximate cause and causation and demonstrate that it has standing to bring the claims (and that its state law claims are not preempted by federal law). New York City also plans to divest its pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies (estimated to be approximately $5 billion). For more information, see