Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ned Comer, et al v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al

May 14: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Case No. 12-60291.Appealed from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. A group of Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and property owners (Plaintiffs) alleged that emissions by energy companies (Defendants) contributed to global warming, which intensified Hurricane Katrina, which, in turn, damaged their property. The district court dismissed their claims with prejudice. A panel of Fifth Circuit reversed, in part, the district court's dismissal [See WIMS 10/21/09]. The Appeals Court indicates that before mandate could issue, a majority of the Appeals Court's active, unrecused judges voted for rehearing en banc. After the en banc vote, but before rehearing, an additional judge was recused. The Appeals Court determined that it lacked quorum to proceed, and dismissed the appeal. The Supreme Court denied Plaintiffs' petition for a writ of mandamus.

    The same group of Gulf Coast residents and property owners (Appellants) filed what they concede are essentially several of the same claims, against many of the same energy companies (Appellees), in the same district court. The district court held, among other things, that the doctrine of res judicata barred their claims. The Fifth Circuit affirmed on the basis of res judicata [i.e. A matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court and may not be pursued further by the same parties].
    The case involves Plaintiffs alleging that emissions by energy companies (i.e. dozens of major oil and power generating companies) Defendants caused global warming which, increased the "destructive [c]apacity" of Hurricane Katrina, which, in turn, damaged the class members' property. Plaintiffs asserted claims of public and private nuisance, trespass, negligence, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy against the companies.
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Energy, #Climate, #CA5]
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