U.S. Supreme Court Restricts Climate Change Nuisance Suits

22 June 2011
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Key takeaways 

  • On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court restricted the ability of states and private parties to sue utilities under a federal common law theory of nuisance for contributing to global warming. 
  • In an 8-0 decision, the Court held that the Clean Air Act and the actions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act displace any federal common law right to seek abatement of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants. 
  • The Court left open the issue of whether the Clean Air Act precludes parties from bringing state common law nuisance claims.