As published on edition.cnn.com, Tuesday December 10, 2019.
New York (CNN Business)A New York judge Tuesday ruled that ExxonMobil did not mislead investors about how it accounted for the cost of climate change regulations.
The suit, brought by the New York state attorney general, alleged the company used one dollar figure for its internal estimates, yet told the public it was using a higher figure. ExxonMobil (XOM) denied the allegations and said the two numbers were used for different financial impacts from climate change regulation.
"The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor," Judge Barry Ostrager wrote in the decision.
Ostrager said the testimony of New York attorney general's witnesses was "eviscerated" by Exxon's lawyers and expert witnesses.
Former Exxon CEO and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified for the defense. during the trial.
A spokesman for the New York attorney general's office told CNN the state is reviewing Judge Ostrager's decision. Exxon called the allegations "baseless."
"Today's ruling affirms the position ExxonMobil has held," the company said. "ExxonMobil will continue to invest in researching breakthrough technologies to reduce emissions while meeting society's growing demand for energy."
Greenpeace defended New York's lawsuit and called Exxon deceptive.
"Exxon and its friends will eventually have to take responsibility for the decades of deception about knowingly contributing to climate change," Vicky Wyatt, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said in a statement.
Despite the setback, Wyatt predicted continued efforts to rein in Exxon and other oil companies.
"The people will not stop. We're seeing a wave of frontline communities, political leaders and investors demanding accountability and bold action as climate impacts worsen and become costlier," she said.