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Native Village of Kivalina V. Exxonmobil Corporations

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Submitted By twill
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Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxonmobil Corporations, Et AL.

Facts: The Native Village of Kivalina which consists of federally-recognized Tribe of Inupiat Eskimos was located at the tip of a six-mile long barrier reef. The Kivalina coast is protected by Arctic sea ice that is present during the fall, winter and spring. As a result of global warming, however, the sea ice now attaches to the Kivalina coast later in the year and breaks up earlier and is thinner and less extensive than before, thus subjecting Kivalina to coastal storm waves and surges. As a result, Kivalina is becoming uninhabitable and they have to relocate. Plaintiffs attribute the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane to increases in the combustion of fossil fuels as well as fuel harvesting activities, such as coal mining and oil drilling. According to Plaintiffs, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas levels have been increasing steadily since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on February 26, 2008. The Complaint alleges four claims for relief: (1) Federal Common Law: Public Nuisance; (2) State Law: Private and Public Nuisance; (3) Civil Conspiracy; and (4) Concert of Action.
Issues: The threshold question presented by Defendants' motions is whether the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' federal claim for common law nuisance.
Holding: The parties are presently before the Court on various Defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant Federal rules of Civil Procedure. Therefore, the court granted defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiffs' federal claim for nuisance for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court declined to assert supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims which were dismissed without prejudice to their presentation in a state court action.

Reasoning: In their rule motions, Defendants contend that Plaintiffs' claims are not justiciable under the political question doctrine, and that Plaintiffs otherwise lack standing under Article III of the United States Constitution. The Court hereby grants Defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Court, in its discretion, finds this matter suitable for resolution without oral argument.

U.S. Const. art. III standing is a threshold requirement for federal court jurisdiction. Under Article III of the Constitution, federal judicial power extends only to "Cases" and "Controversies." U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. In order to have Article III standing, a plaintiff must adequately establish: (1) an injury in fact (i.e., a concrete and particularized invasion of a legally protected interest); (2) causation (i.e., a fairly traceable connection between the alleged injury in fact and the alleged conduct of the defendant); and (3) redressability (i.e., it is likely and not merely speculative that the plaintiff's injury will be remedied by the relief plaintiff seeks in bringing suit). The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing these elements which are the irreducible constitutional minimum requirements of standing.

Law & Ethics in the Business Environment; Halbert & Ingulli; South Western Cengage
Publishers; ISBN # 0-538-47351-7 (Student Copy) (7th Edition)…...

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