Crain’s New York Business published an op-ed from LRANY’s Tom Stebbins about how private interests and law firms are working behind the scenes on climate change litigation:
New York politicians like to claim their leadership in the fight against climate change, but behind the scenes a small group of lawyers and donors are the ones pulling the levers.
Environmental activists, plaintiffs’ lawyers and government representatives gathered late last month at Columbia University to discuss expanding their effort to use the civil justice system to combat the effects of climate change. In recent years private contingency-fee lawyers have worked hard to conscript like-minded, headline-hunting elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio and disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to file lawsuits and join the litigation.
Profit-driven law firms, looking to strike it rich with a cut of possible settlements, are driving this effort to politicize the judiciary for financial gain. While their distortions of tort law have mostly failed in the courtroom, the lawyers have succeeded in infiltrating the offices of climate-crusading politicians.