Originality Befitting an Ivy League President – Watts Up With That?

From Climate Litigation Watch

CLW is not alone in noticing an awful lot of familiar verbiage popping up in climate lawsuits filed in different jurisdictions with different laws, different plaintiffs, and even different lawyers.

There was the amusing episode in which artifact language from Minnesota’s June 24, 2020 turned up in the District of Columbia’s lawsuit filed the next day, even though DC AG Karl Racine denied he even knew about his colleagues’ suit.

Different clients if the same allegations—but, of course, clumsily repeating allegations made in the Minnesota complaint in the DC complaint about a party not named as a defendant by DC. But at least the same outside law firm did this, if to claim a purely local offense.

Then Russell Cook spotted more than a little resemblance between a couple of tribal lawsuits recently filed.

This brings to mind this similar if less extensive find of Mr. Cook’s. Which also was like this one. Which, turns out, is among about 50 pages of the the Multnomah County (OR) complaint using the same words, displaying the same images, and invoking arguments and citations in the same order as the Puerto Rico suit. And they don’t even have the same lawyers! Leading Cook to describe the latter as “a seemingly plagiarized copy of Puerto Rico v Exxon as I detailed in my dissection of Multnomah.”

What is one to think of such a preponderance of cookie-cutter language between purely local state law cases that have nothing to do with federal issues or local issues in other states, we swear, your honors?

Put aside how some lawyers might rake in tens of millions of dollars taken from purported damages suffered by taxpayers, grounded in that. Energy Policy Advocates has detailed in amicus briefs the extensive evidence that this is a centrally coordinated campaign of vexatious multi-jurisdiction litigation. But it is quite the own-goal when even disparate lawyers use the same language to file complaints that the defendants make a pretty good case are all part of the same and belong in federal court. Which may be something to point out next time someone removes one of these to federal court?

CLW closes on a related point: Although the law firms filing lawsuits making the same claim may be diversifying, the evidence that they do all have the same, shall we say, advisors has recently grown…

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