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Judge tosses Exxon Mobil lawsuit against activist shareholder Arjuna over climate proposal

A federal judge in Texas on Monday dismissed a controversial lawsuit by Exxon Mobil against activist shareholder Arjuna Capital over a climate proposal, ruling that the firm’s promise it would not resubmit the proposal had rendered the case moot.

“Arjuna has eliminated any case or controversy between the Parties here, Exxon’s claim is moot and must be dismissed without prejudice,” U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman for the Northern District of Texas wrote in his ruling after a hearing held Monday.

Exxon had sued Arjuna Capital and another shareholder, Follow This, in January over a proposal they had submitted for oil major’s May 29 annual shareholder meeting calling for the company to accelerate carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

The two activist shareholders withdrew the proposal after Exxon sued, but the oil major proceeded with its lawsuit claiming that the investors could file a similar proposal at a future shareholder meeting.

Pittman had originally denied Arjuna’s request to dismiss Exxon’s claims, echoing the oil major’s arguments, while tossing out the suit against Netherlands-based Follow This due to jurisdiction issues.

But the judge said Monday that there was no longer an issue at stake in the case after Arjuna made an “unconditional and irrevocable” pledge to ensure Exxon that it won’t file a similar proposal again.

“Arjuna was caught between a rock and a hard place,” Pittman wrote in his ruling Monday. “Arjuna is a boutique wealth management firm with offices in North Carolina and Massachusetts. Exxon is one of the largest multinational conglomerates on the planet.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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