Planet Gore

Playing the Tort Lottery

If you missed the story last month (which Ed discussed here), the USA Today has given it some more press this week. A dozen Gulf Coast property owners whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina are being permitted to pursue claims that global warming is to blame for their property damage:

A group of 12 Mississippi Gulf Coast homeowners is using a novel legal strategy to try to recoup losses suffered during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The lawsuit seeks damages from a group of 33 energy companies, including ExxonMobil and coal giant Peabody Energy, electric utilities, and other conglomerates for allegedly emitting greenhouse gases that the litigants say contributed to global warming.

That, the litigants claim, caused a rise in sea levels and increased air and water temperatures fueling the Category 5 hurricane that destroyed their homes.

The lawsuit, considered a long shot by legal experts, cleared a hurdle last month when a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said it could continue, overruling a Circuit Court judge who had agreed with arguments from the companies that global warming is a political, not legal, issue.

The key to the appeal was in the legal strategy, said Robert Percival, director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland. Rather than asking the court to force the companies to stop emitting greenhouse gases, the lawsuit asks for a ruling on whether damage suffered by the homeowners can be traced back to those emissions, he said.

“Just because climate change is difficult, courts aren’t going to shy away from their traditional role in weighing issues of harm,” Percival said.

Most Popular

National Security & Defense

Leave McMaster Be

About every two months, there are rumors that Gen. H. R. McMaster might be let go as Trump’s national-security adviser (along with many other stellar appointees). The world, however, is a much more logical and predictable place than it was 14 months ago. We’ve restored ties to the Gulf monarchies; Israel ... Read More
Economy & Business

What Kudlow Got Right in 2007

Lawrence Kudlow’s appointment to be director of the National Economic Council has brought out the critics, who have combed through his copious writings to find every wrong call he has made over the decades. One passage that has come in for some ridicule, though, doesn’t deserve it. Here’s Kudlow, writing ... Read More
Film & TV

Love, Simon Outs Hollywood’s Youth Exploitation

Simon (Nick Robinson), the 17-year-old white gay high-school student in Love, Simon, appears to be a comic version of the protagonist in Moonlight. Rather than blatantly copy that Oscar-winning black-gay-victim film, Love, Simon remakes the pathetic Moonlight in the more marketable guise of a sitcom about a ... Read More

Don’t Bork Gina Haspel

President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director is about to experience a good Borking. No one doubts her professionalism, and she’s been endorsed by Obama intelligence officials. Yet Gina Haspel’s long career at the agency, including extensive work undercover in the field, is getting blotted out by her ... Read More