Maui Joins Climate Litigation Campaign As Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Seek To Gain From “Disgorgement Of Profits”

Mainland U.S. plaintiffs’ attorneys are looking for another big payout in Hawai’i after the County of Maui became the second municipality in the state to join the national climate litigation campaign. The move takes place months after the county council approved such a lawsuit, and on Monday, Maui officially filed a public nuisance lawsuit against major energy producers, alleging their marketing, promotion and sale of fossil fuels worsened the impacts of climate change in the community. The county is being represented by San Francisco-based environmental plaintiffs’ firm Sher Edling, LLP, a decision that was also approved by the county council in February.

In addition to other forms of relief, Maui wants the energy companies named in its lawsuit to pay for related damages including a “disgorgement of profits” – an absurd claim that demands past revenue earned by the companies should be forfeited because it was allegedly earned illegally. This is despite the fact that fossil fuel production is – and always has been – a completely legal and essential economic activity that Hawai’i’s economy depends on.

Recall that Maui is joining an effort that has thus far been fruitless – every case that’s been heard on its merits has been soundly defeated, and other Hawai’i municipalities have started to backtrack on filing their own lawsuits because of these losses.

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