SJC References Hemenway & Barnes’s Amicus Brief in Ruling for Attorneys General in Suit Against Exxon Mobil

May 24, 2022

In a recent ruling in the case of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Exxon Mobil Corp., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) referenced a Hemenway & Barnes amicus brief filed by Hemenway & Barnes attorneys, Edward Notis-McConarty, Jennifer Grace Miller, M. Patrick Moore Jr. and Clinton R. Prospere on behalf of every living former Massachusetts Attorney General – Francis X. Bellotti, James M. Shannon, Scott Harshbarger, Thomas Reilly, and Martha Coakley.

The brief urged the SJC to affirm the Superior Court’s decision, which denied Exxon’s special motion to dismiss Attorney General Maura Healey’s suit against Exxon for violations of G.L. c. 93A, the unfair and deceptive practice statute.

In the ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court references the amicus brief, stating:

“As the former Attorneys General explain in their amicus brief, there are conceptual difficulties with including the Commonwealth as a “party,” authorized to bring special motions to dismiss:

‘Does the Commonwealth have a protected right to petition itself? Could someone else bring a claim that was ‘based on’ the Commonwealth’s petitioning of itself? That seems unlikely given that the right to petition is vested in the ‘people.’”

Read the brief here: Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

Read Bloomberg Law article “Exxon Must Face Massachusetts Suit Claiming Climate Deception”