New York lawsuit against Exxon a 'shakedown': Judge Napolitano

A New York state lawsuit against Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading investors by downplaying the risk climate-change regulations would have on its business is nothing more than a “shakedown,” according to Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano.

“Who gets the money if the plaintiff wins?” he said on Thursday during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “The government of the state of New York. It’s absolutely a money grab.”

Filed by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the 96-page lawsuit alleges that former CEO Rex Tillerson knew for years that the company was not accounting for the likelihood of “increasingly stringent regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions,” despite telling investors otherwise.

“Investors put their money and their trust in Exxon – which assured them of the long-term value of their shares, as the company claimed to be factoring the risk of increasing climate-change regulation into its business decisions. Yet as our investigation found, Exxon often did no such thing,” Underwood said in a news release.

According to the release, Exxon’s failure to apply its publicly represented costs resulted in the undercounting of projected greenhouse-gas expenses by more than $25 billion in a project in Canada.

But Napolitano said the $200 million lawsuit is the “worst type of litigation” that will likely end with Exxon reaching a settlement with the state of New York.

“It’s a shakedown,” he said, adding, “They won’t litigate. It won’t go to a jury. Exxon will decide how much can we pay to get this beast, the government of the state of New York, off our backs.”