Healey pushing for climate change documents from ExxonMobil

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The Supreme Judicial Court is slated to hear arguments Tuesday in Attorney General Maura Healey’s legal battle to find out what ExxonMobil knew about climate change — and when the company knew it.

In January, Healey won a major legal showdown against the company when a judge ruled that the giant oil company must turn over 40 years of documents on climate change.

But ExxonMobil continues to fight the case and on Tuesday oral arguments are slated before the justices of the state’s highest court.


Healey, along with the attorney general of New York, launched probes into ExxonMobil after reports published in 2015 suggested the company had encouraged climate-change confusion for years after its own scientists established the risks.

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“The Attorney General’s decision to issue a [demand for information] to Exxon was based on . . . a substantial, newly available public record indicating that Exxon for decades has been aware of how its products contribute to climate change and how climate change and related regulatory actions could undermine its profitability,” the attorney general’s office wrote in a brief filed in court.

The attorney general argued that there was a possibility that “Exxon’s failure to disclose that information had (and continues to have) . . . the capacity, tendency to, or effect of, deceiving Massachusetts consumers and investors and unfairly distorting the marketplace.”

But ExxonMobil argued in its brief that the Massachusetts court was overstepping its authority by ordering the company to produce documents.

The company said it doesn’t actually sell products in the state. “Any consumer purchases of ExxonMobil-branded products were made indirectly through intermediaries, such as wholesalers, retailers, and [independently owned gas stations], all of whom remain wholly independent of ExxonMobil,” the company said.


The company also said anyone who had bought ExxonMobil stock had not bought it from ExxonMobil, but from “third parties in the open market.

“ExxonMobil is a New Jersey corporation with its principal place of business in Texas and is therefore not subject to general jurisdiction in Massachusetts,” the company argued.

Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert