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U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear request to move Delaware climate change lawsuit to federal court

Delaware Public Media

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear a fossil fuel industry request to move Delaware’s climate change lawsuit to federal court.

The nation’s highest court turned down a petition to hear the case, ending the long-running battle over jurisdiction and leaving it in Delaware Superior Court.

The lawsuit - filed in Sept. 2020 - claims fossil fuel companies’ products caused or accelerated climate change, endangering thousands of Delaware residents, threatening the state’s agriculture sector and jeopardizing over a billion dollars in property value.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the state and punish the companies, including $10,000 per violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. The complaint argues the changes to Delaware's environment, a "direct and proximate consequence of Defendants’ wrongful conduct," disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income communities.

The suit also claims the companies knew or should have known the dangers of their products, and misled the public for decades.

The fossil fuel companies wanted to move the case from state to federal court – where they hoped to see it tossed out – but Delaware fought to keep the case in state court, where its standing is clear under state law.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings applauded the ruling, and says this moves Delaware one step closer to justice and economic relief.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.