Friday, July 28, 2017

Oilfluenza, Affluenza, and Disgorgement - 2

Life Magazine Ad (1962)
The previous post of this series probably seemed science fiction, legal fiction, or just fanciful to many who read it.

I set forth the perfectly legal description of "Disgorgement" for all to see.

Now, "lo and behold," a serious lawsuit has been filed by government entities (in the courts of California) which in fact asserts a claim, among others, for disgorgement of profits:
Three Californian communities have launched legal action against some of the world’s biggest oil, gas and coal companies, seeking compensation for the current and future costs of adapting to sea level rises linked to climate change.

San Mateo and Marin Counties, coastal communities in northern California, and Imperial Beach, a city in San Diego County, have filed complaints against 37 “carbon majors”, including Shell, Chevron, Statoil, Exxon and Total.

They claim greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuel companies’ activities over the last 50 years have locked in substantial sea level rises, which will cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to properties and businesses, as well as endangering lives.

According to the complaint, the defendants “have known for nearly 50 years years that greenhouse gas pollution from their fossil fuel products has a significant impact on the Earth’s climate and sea levels”. Rather than working to reduce impacts, the complaint claims the companies engaged in a “co-ordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny their knowledge of these threats”.
(Guardian, cf. Press Release). The portion of the complaint that sets forth the disgorgement remedy allegation, among others, is as follows:
186. Defendants’ wrongful conduct was oppressive, malicious, and fraudulent, in that their conduct was willful, intentional, and in conscious disregard for the rights of others. Defendants’ conduct was so vile, base, and contemptible that it would be looked down upon and despised by reasonable people, justifying an award of punitive and exemplary damages in an amount subject to proof at trial, and justifying equitable disgorgement of all profits Defendants obtained through their unlawful and outrageous conduct.
(Sher Edling Lawfirm, PDF, emphasis added). That "186" means allegation or paragraph 186, as numbered in the complaint.

Accountability came to Big Tobacco so we can now hope it comes to Big Oil (Oil-Qaeda) too (Humble Oil-Qaeda).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. A contrarian discusses FTC's growing favorability toward disgorgement: link

  2. Imperial Beach in south San Diego County is surrounded by water on three sides, the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay and the Tijuana Estuary. IB stands to lose 30 percent of its land due to coastal flooding.