Federal judge suspects ‘bad faith’ in Massachusetts Exxon probe

Federal judge suspects ‘bad faith’ in Massachusetts Exxon probe
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A federal judge is concerned that the attorney general of Massachusetts could be acting in “bad faith” in her climate change investigation of Exxon Mobil Corp.

Texas Judge Ed Kinkeade ordered preliminary discovery Thursday in Exxon’s lawsuit fighting Attorney General Maura Healey’s (D) demand for decades of documents from the company regarding its history with climate change.

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The purpose of the preliminary discovery is to determine whether Kinkeade’s court has jurisdiction to block Healey’s demand. That means Exxon will be able to examine certain records, communications and depositions from Healey’s office regarding the case and her intentions.

If Healey’s actions are in bad faith, that gives Kinkeade a reason to intervene, he wrote.

Healey is investigating whether Exxon illegally misled her state’s consumers by allegedly denying climate change publicly while its own internal science showed that fossil fuel emissions were causing global warming.

Exxon says the prove is politically motivated, which it argues fits the “bad faith” standard.

Kinkeade’s order extensively cited a March press conference in New York City in which Healey announced her investigation with other Democratic state attorneys general.

“The court finds the allegations about Attorney General Healey and the anticipatory nature of Attorney General Healey’s remarks about the outcome of the Exxon investigation to be concerning to this court,” he wrote. “The foregoing allegations about Attorney General Healey, if true, may constitute bad faith,” which would mandate that the court intervene, he said.