The Supreme Court declined to hear review of Comer v. Murphy Oil, a public nuisance lawsuit filed by property owners seeking damages from Hurricane Katrina. The property owners alleged that the defendants intensified the damage of Hurricane Katrina by contributing significant amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Their claim prevailed in a 5th Circuit ruling by a panel of judges, which would have allowed the property owners to proceed with their suit. However, the case was thrown out for procedural reasons. Now, it’s dead.
Given the case’s fate under a procedural quirk, the result will not likely set a precedent barring other property owners’ federal common law damages claims for climate-related harms. However, the Supreme Court is set to review CT v. AEP this term, which may settle the applicability of federal common law claims to climate damages for good.