Judge rejects Exxon lawsuit over shareholder climate activism

Source: By Lesley Clark, Jordan Wolman, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2024

Exxon and an investor group targeted in the oil company’s legal challenge declared the ruling a victory.

 The logo for Exxon Mobil appears at the New York Stock Exchange.

The logo for Exxon Mobil appears at the New York Stock Exchange on April 23, 2018. Richard Drew/AP

A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit from Exxon Mobil in which the oil giant sought to push back on shareholder activists and raise larger questions around how the Securities and Exchange Commission runs the proxy process.

Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled late Monday that the case is mootafter Arjuna Capital, a shareholder activist group, agreed to withdraw a nonbinding proxy proposal it filed earlier this year requesting that Exxon move faster to curb greenhouse gas emissions — and said it would not file it again in the future.

Still, Exxon, which had continued to pursue the litigation, framed the commitments from Arjuna as a win in a statement, saying that the lawsuit “put a spotlight on the abuse” of the shareholder system and that the court “has made absolutely clear that Arjuna cannot continue abusing the process.”

Exxon’s lawsuit, filed in January, garnered widespread attention and prompted investor backlash because of the company’s unusual maneuver around the SEC.