Global Warming Litigation and D&O Insurance Coverage Issues

February 19, 2010

As a follow-up to our recent webinar, A Lot of Hot Air or Coming Disaster: Insurance Coverage for Global Warming Claims on February 9, 2010, we invite you to read a white paper on the topic just released by McGuireWoods.


Plaintiffs have filed suits against government agencies or officials seeking to address climate change through the enforcement of various regulatory or statutory schemes. These claims involve actions against governmental agencies for acts or omissions relating to the emission of greenhouse gases. A more recent trend involves lawsuits aimed directly at the companies and industries that allegedly contribute the release of greenhouse gases. Plaintiffs have asserted claims based on nuisance and other tort theories. Arising out of these suits against these companies, plaintiffs may eventually file claims against corporate directors and officers for their roles in company emissions and climate change-related disclosures. It can be argued that directors and officers have a duty to monitor global warming issues, evaluate such risks, and take action to minimize the risks. Indeed, directors and officers may face liability if a company suffers financial harm as a result of a breach of care, or fails to make required disclosures.