We have posted on the climate change litigation, including inexplicable decisions such as the putative class action alleging that -- follow the chain -- dozens of oil and chemical companies emitted greenhouse gasses which contributed to an impact on the atmosphere which contributed to a rise in temperature of some parts of the ocean which contributed to making Hurricane Katrina stronger which contributed to additional damages to plaintiffs' property. Such decisions represent a clear and dangerous trend within certain courts to usurp Congress, warp the traditional nuisance doctrine, and plunge the federal courts into what are essentially political questions.
Now comes the welcome news that the Fifth Circuit has ordered en banc rehearing of the case. Comer et al. v. Murphy Oil USA et al., No. 07-60756 (5th Cir.). The court issued an order last week granting the defendants' petition for a rehearing en banc, vacating the panel decision from last Fall. The Fifth Circuit panel had ruled that private property owners under Mississippi law may have standing to bring climate change-related nuisance and trespass claims for both property and punitive damages.
The defendants will re-brief the issues by the end of this month, and oral argument appears to be set for the end of May.