Baltimore Is Hiding Climate Lawsuit Documents From Taxpayers Behind A Wall Of ‘Attorney-Client Privilege’

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The City of Baltimore is keeping communications between city officials and attorneys hired to litigate the city’s climate lawsuit against oil companies hidden from public because of “attorney-client privilege,” The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

TheDCNF sent in a request for communications between attorneys at the law firm of Sher Edling LLC and Baltimore City Solicitor Andre M. Davis, Senior Public Safety Counsel Suzanne Sangree and Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth Ryan Martinez on August 1. Baltimore denied the request August 12.

“This response is on behalf of the Law Department. The records you have requested, by their very nature, are protected from disclosure pursuant to the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrines,” assistant city solicitor Benjamin Bor said in an email to TheDCNF. “Accordingly, we must deny your request.”

Davis, Sangree and Martinez sued several oil and gas companies on behalf of the City of Baltimore on July 20, joining other cities and municipalities across the U.S. attempting to hold energy companies accountable for severe weather damage. Several attorneys at Sher Edling are representing Baltimore in the case. (RELATED: A Federal Judge Torches Two Lawsuits Trying To Blame Oil Companies For Climate Change)

Oil and gas companies “have substantially contributed to a wide range of dire climate-related effects, including, but not limited to global warming, rising atmospheric and ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, and more extreme and volatile weather and sea level rise,” Baltimore’s lawsuit says.

Baltimore’s suit is aimed at forcing fossil fuel companies to cover the expenses from damage from severe weather, as well as pay for improvements to city infrastructure to better resist natural disasters.

Several similar lawsuits have been dismissed as too large in scope and not enough data available to make a fair ruling. (RELATED: Judge Tosses Out New York City’s Climate Change Lawsuit)

The failed lawsuits may put taxpayers on the hook for substantial costs in courtroom fees. Taxpayers in Boulder County, Colorado, could pay as much as $1 million if the municipality’s similar climate change lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Succor fails. (RELATED: New Docs Reveal Hefty Taxpayer Costs Associated With Boulder’s Climate Lawsuits)

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