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Exxon loses bid to delay climate change lawsuit by Massachusetts

Credit: REUTERS/LOREN ELLIOTT

A Massachusetts judge on Thursday gave the state's attorney general the greenlight to sue Exxon Mobil Corp "ASAP" over allegations it concealed from investors and consumers its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - A Massachusetts judge on Thursday gave the state's attorney general the greenlight to sue Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N "ASAP" over allegations it concealed from investors and consumers its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.

The ruling was a setback for Exxon, which had sought to delay the filing of the long-expected lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey until after the close of a trial over similar claims by New York's attorney general.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger during a hearing in Boston acknowledged that Healey's office was required to give Exxon an opportunity to discuss the case at least five days before suing the company.

But she ruled that the state was under no obligation to wait longer than that after notifying Exxon on Oct. 10 of its intent to sue, which Assistant Attorney General Richard Johnston said his office wants to do "ASAP", or as soon as possible.

"We should be allowed to file our lawsuit at the earliest possible moment," he told the judge.

Representatives for Exxon and Healey did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

((Nate.Raymond@thomsonreuters.com and Twitter @nateraymond; 617-856-1312; Reuters Messaging: nate.raymond.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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