Lawyers for a group of local California governments are pressing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to allow them to pursue state court claims against some of the world’s largest oil companies for infrastructure costs tied to rising sea levels.
A Ninth Circuit panel on Wednesday—Judges Sandra Ikuta, Morgan Christen and Kenneth Lee—heard arguments in a pair of appeals from two separate sets of cases where federal judges in San Francisco offered up divergent rulings: U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California in March 2018 remanded cases brought by the city of Imperial Beach and San Mateo and Marin counties to state court finding that they weren’t appropriate for removal to federal court. Meanwhile, Chhabria’s colleague U.S. District Judge William Alsup denied a remand request in cases brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco and later dismissed their cases outright in June 2018 holding that climate change “deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.”
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