Logos for Earth Guardians and Our Children's Trust. Graphic: Earth Guardians / Our Children's Trust

EUGENE, Oregon, 12 April 2018 (Our Children's Trust) – During a public case management conference today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin set 29 October 2018 as the trial date for Juliana v. United States, the constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people and supported by Our Children’s Trust. The trial will be heard before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon.

Julia Olson​, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust​ and co-lead counsel for
youth plaintiffs said:

“We have our trial date. In the coming months there will be depositions of the parties, defendants’ disclosure of their experts, and expert depositions in late summer. We will build a full factual record for trial so that the Court can make the best informed decision in this crucial constitutional case.”

DOJ attorneys representing the Trump administration told Judge Coffin that the trial date he set “won’t work” for defendants. They claimed they needed additional time to address expert witness reports and find rebuttal experts for every one of plaintiffs’ experts, to which Judge Coffin asked:

“Where am I missing something? Given your admissions in this case, what is it about the science
that you intend to contest with your rebuttal witnesses?”

The Court also made it clear that it is not going to make decisions on summary judgment motions before the full record at trial, despite defendants’ intentions to move to summary judgment prior to October 29.

Sophie Kivlehan​, 19-year-old plaintiff from Allentown, Pennsylvania said:

“It is a relief to see that the Court understands how imperative it is to get this trial underway as soon as possible, despite all of the delay tactics the U.S. government continues to try to use. I am so excited to have an official trial date on the calendar again so that we can finally bring our voices and our evidence into the courtroom!”

Phil Gregory​, of Gregory Law Group and co-lead counsel for the youth plaintiffs commented:

“By setting a trial date of 29 October 2018 the court clearly recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis. Further, the court stressed that the science should not be in dispute and that the case should be able to proceed in a streamlined fashion. On October 29th climate science will finally have its day in court and the plaintiffs will be ready.”

Jaime Butler​, 17-year-old plaintiff from Flagstaff, Arizona and a member of the Navajo Nation said:

“I am happy that the court is taking us and our case seriously, even though we’re young people. I’m excited to go to trial where I can represent other kids like me, not just Navajos but all Native Americans. Indigenous people feel the effects of climate change but a lot of them don’t have good representation. By representing people like me, I hope all indigenous people feel more respected and heard. We should all have an equal say in how the future should be and how we take care of it.”

Miko Vergun​, 16-year-old plaintiff from Beaverton, Oregon said:

“The Defendants keep making excuses but thankfully Judge Coffin sees the urgency of our case. I’m excited for October 29, our official trial date.”

Jacob Lebel​, 21-year-old plaintiff from Roseburg, Oregon said:

“It’s amazing to have finally overcome the smokescreen delay tactics of the U.S. government and to be headed to trial with such amazing, strengthened momentum. A transparent and science-based trial is at the core of our judicial system and democracy, and will ensure that climate justice will be given the appropriate urgency and importance.”

Isaac Vergun​, 15-year-old plaintiff from Beaverton, Oregon said:

“We’re on track for October 29 and our attorneys are doing everything in their power to keep this case from getting delayed any further and they’re doing a great job. We keep jumping over hurdles and we can see the finish line.”

Juliana v. United States is not about the government’s failure to act on climate. Instead, the 21 young
plaintiffs assert that the U.S. government, through its affirmative actions in creating a national energy
system that cause climate change, has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and has failed to protect essential public trust resources. The case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, and all seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.

Contact

To set up interviews with youth plaintiffs, contact: Meg Ward, 503-341-8590, meg@ourchildrenstrust.org.

Juliana v. United States ​climate trial set for October 29, 2018

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