This op-ed was originally published by Agri-Pulse. Mass tort litigation has become a multi-billion-dollar industry for trial lawyers over the past several decades as they’ve targeted everything from tobacco and […]
Show Me the Money: Hollywood Celebrity Revealed to be Funding Baseless Climate Lawsuits
August 16, 2022 (WASHINGTON) – According to a new investigative report published by Fox News, emails appear to show that actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s non-profit foundation, “awarded grants to a dark money group […]
August 16, 2022 (WASHINGTON) – According to a new investigative report published by Fox News, emails appear to show that actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s non-profit foundation, “awarded grants to a dark money group which, in turn, funneled money to a law firm spearheading climate nuisance lawsuits nationwide.” DiCaprio’s foundation allegedly awarded grants to the Resources Legacy Fund, a dark money group, which then donated to a private law firm suing oil companies over allegations of climate change.
This reporting echoes the findings of a June American Tort Reform Foundation report revealing how state attorneys general and local municipalities have coordinated with energy activists to embark on a litigation campaign against oil companies, hiring plaintiffs’ attorneys to bring various state tort claims.
“This recent wave of climate change litigation is the culmination of a long-running activist campaign against the oil and gas industry through which contingent fee plaintiffs’ lawyers and environmental activists, with the backing of dark-money funders, have pursued plans to sue energy producers,” said Tiger Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Association. “We are seeing more stories of wealthy funders, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Bloomberg, pursuing a dramatic transformation of America’s energy policies—not through its democratically elected officials and legislators but through the courts wielding vague state law claims,” said Joyce.
According to the emails obtained by watchdog group Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO), the law firm Sher Edling has been raising money for its efforts to sue oil companies on behalf of state and local governments. Fox News reports that Sher Edling has sued major energy companies on behalf of Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Baltimore, Honolulu and several local governments across the country.
“Companies that create highly regulated, legal products that benefit the general public should not face legal battles, funded by dark money groups, claiming those same products create a public nuisance,” Joyce said. “Climate change is a global concern deserving of a global solution from policymakers – but regulation through litigation is not the answer. With energy prices soaring to record highs and American energy sources becoming more critical than ever, now is the time to put a bright spotlight on the secret funding for these baseless multi-billion-dollar lawsuits.”
The full report, “Attorneys General for Hire: A Disturbing Usurpation of Traditional State Police Powers by Private Political Activists” is available at ATRA.org.
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