Judge’s death adds to slow progress of Boulder County climate change lawsuit

June 15, 2019 in Boulder


It was well over a year ago that the city of Boulder and Boulder County with some fanfare joined with San Miguel County to file a lawsuit against two fossil fuel companies, seeking to hold them accountable for the damages associated with climate change.

In the often molasses-uphill world of civil litigation, it is not unusual for cases to move slowly. But if it was a race between the molasses and the headline-grabbing Boulder climate change litigation, the syrup would be the winner.

It is not yet known, even, in which court the lawsuit, which targets Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy and was filed in Boulder District Court on April 17, 2018, will be heard.

The slow motion in which the litigation is moving — or, isn’t moving — is both par for the course, and not. The death of a federal judge has something to do with that.

Although the case was filed initially in Boulder District Court, a venue in which the plaintiffs might reasonably expect to have a better than fighting chance, the defendants promptly moved on June 29, 2018, to have it transferred to U.S. District Court in Denver, which is where it currently is cooling its heels. Previous similar cases filed on both coasts and heard in federal courts, have met differing fates.


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