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A Massachusetts state judge has rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by state Attorney General Maura Healey accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about its role in climate change.
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In a decision released on Wednesday, Superior Court Justice Karen Green in Boston said Exxon failed to show that the October 2019 lawsuit was meant to silence its views on climate change, including those Healey and her constituents might dispute.
"Climate change indisputably is a topic that has attracted government attention," Green wrote. "It is apparent from the context in which they were made that many Exxon statements referenced in the complaint are not protected."
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Exxon said it was considering its next legal steps. "This case lacks merit, and we look forward to defending the company," spokesperson Casey Norton said in an email.
The decision came one month after Engine No. 1, an activist hedge fund focused on climate change, won three seats on Exxon's 12-member board, an unexpected blow to an energy industry facing growing investor complaints about global warming.