Massachusetts' high court on Tuesday unanimously rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the state's attorney general accusing the oil company of misleading consumers and investors about climate change and the dangers of using fossil fuels.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said Attorney General Maura Healey could pursue what Exxon called a politically-motivated case that it claimed violated a state law protecting defendants from lawsuits designed to silence them.
Justice Scott Kafker, writing for the 7-0 court, said the statute protecting against strategic lawsuits against public participation only applied to private lawsuits, not government enforcement actions.
Applying the so-called anti-SLAPP law to such cases would create "significant roadblocks" for the attorney general as the statute requires lawsuits to be largely put on hold until a court decides whether to dismiss them, Kafker said.
Healey, a Democrat running for governor, called the decision "a resounding victory in our work to stop Exxon from lying to investors and consumers in our state."