Federal Appeals Court Urged to Keep Minnesota’s Climate-Change Suit in State Court

  • A group of 17 Democratic AGs, led by Washington AG Bob Ferguson, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in support of Minnesota’s position in Minnesota v. American Petroleum Institute et al. that Minnesota’s suit against fossil fuel companies properly belongs in state court.
  • In 2020, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison sued several major fossil fuel companies as well as industry think-tank American Petroleum Institute over allegations they knowingly misled consumers about the harms and risks of fossil-fuel use. The case was originally filed in state court but the defendants later removed it to federal district court. The district court ordered the case remanded back to state court and the defendants appealed.
  • The amicus brief argues, among other things, that the case should be adjudicated in state court because Minnesota’s claims arose under state law and raise no federal issue. The brief also argues that states have sovereign authority to bring state-law suites to remedy the harms of climate change within their borders and that adjudicating consumer protection claims in federal court would disrupt federal-state balance because these claims are traditionally entrusted to the states.