Anticipating Insurance Issues Raised By Climate Change Suits

Law360 (August 22, 2019, 4:42 PM EDT) -- Since 2017, there has been a resurgence in litigation attempting to impose liability on businesses (including both fossil-fuel producers and carbon-dioxide emitting utility companies) for the consequences of global warming and rising sea levels. A majority of these suits are brought by state attorneys general and city authorities, seeking billions of dollars for “climate resiliency costs” allegedly incurred by states and cities, which largely outsource these claims to contingency fee lawyers.

Each of these lawsuits is founded on a common-law claim for public nuisance under tort law, although other theories of recovery are usually pleaded as well. These cases represent a...

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