HONOLULU (KHON2) — A federal judge gave Maui County a major win in its lawsuit against oil companies after he prevented the case from being moved to federal court.
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In October 2020, Maui County filed a lawsuit against 20 fossil fuel companies for the rising costs and impacts of climate change, citing a decades-long campaign of deception and claiming that the defendants hid their products’ known dangers in order to maximize profits.
Maui County filed its case in Hawaii state court since the claims stem from state law. Attorneys for the oil companies tried unsuccessfully to have the case moved to federal court.
On Friday, Federal District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson ruled that the federal court does not have jurisdiction over the County of Maui v. Chevron case and remanded the action back to state court.
“We expect this to be the first of many victories for Maui County in this case,” Mayor Michael Victorino said on Friday. “Big Oil companies will have to answer for what they did. We hope that our case will shine a light on the causes of climate change and how Big Oil concealed that information just to make an extra buck. They must pay for the damages they are causing to our islands.”
A copy of Judge Watson’s order can be found here.