In one of the most innovate lawsuits in the country, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office sued five of the largest fossil fuel corporations in the world to hold them accountable for the harmful consequences of their massive fossil fuel production and promotion. Building on the City's historic lead paint litigation, which affirmed the breadth of California's public nuisance law, the City Attorney's Office seeks the costs of abatement of climate change, including contribution to the costs of seawalls and other infrastructure San Francisco will need to protect the people and property of the city.
SFALP students have been involved since before the case was filed, and are playing a central role in researching the legal theories with which the court and litigants will have to grapple to pursue this case.
After a thirteen-year battle that broke new legal ground, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office and nine other California cities and counties won a historic $1.1 billion judgment against several large manufacturers for aggressively marketing lead paint for indoor use, even long after the companies were aware of its disastrous health consequences for children. In 2017 an appellate court upheld the judgment as applied to over two-thirds of the San Francisco homes affected by lead paint. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the companies’ challenge to the judgment against them. SFALP worked on this litigation for over ten years, making it one of the clinic's longest-running cases. The case has affirmed the breadth of California's public nuisance law, and supports the City's climate change action brought in 2017.