Foes of the NJDEP $225 Million Settlement with Exxon Mobil Must File “Friend of the Court” Briefs Today
Amicus Curiae Briefs Due Today; Oral Argument on Motion to Approve Settlement Rescheduled
After denying their motions to intervene last week (see our coverage here), Judge Hogan issued a Scheduling Order that sets today as the deadline for the eight environmental organizations and State Senator Lesniak (D-Union) to file their amicus curiae briefs. NJDEP and Exxon Mobil must file their response briefs by the end of the week at noon on Friday, July 24, 2015.
Oral argument on the motion to approve the proposed settlement, which was previously scheduled for tomorrow, will now be held Thursday, July 30, 2015. Judge Hogan is allowing the amici to participate in the oral argument if they choose to, which we should all expect at this point.
An amicus curiae, a Latin term that literally means ‘friend of the court,’ is an entity that is not a party to a case, but has an interest in the outcome and files a brief to provide information and arguments to the court and otherwise weigh in on the case. As a non-party, an amicus curiae does not have a right to appeal the final outcome of a case, which is what the eight environmental groups and Senator Lesniak were ultimately seeking when they filed their motions to intervene. So, these amicus curiae briefs and next week’s oral argument are their very last opportunity to voice their opposition to the settlement before the judge decides whether to approve it (unless they appeal the denial of the motions to intervene; no word so far on whether they will file an appeal). Senator Lesniak vowed to file such a brief after his motion to intervene was denied, so we expect to see plenty of activity this week.
Stay tuned for discussions on NJDEP’s response to the more than 16,000 public comments on the settlement, which the judge will likely consider in his evaluation of the proposed settlement, as well as a closer look at natural resource damages and what they actually mean. And continuing updates on the case’s docket.
UPDATE: After the posting of this blog, the Sierra Club of New Jersey posted a press release announcing that it made the amici filings, along with other environmental groups, earlier today.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.
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