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Statement of Work (SOW)

1. Introduction.

This RFP is to solicit proposals from attorneys and law firms with experience and interest in pursuing constitutional, statutory, tort and other applicable common law claims against the fossil fuel industry for knowingly causing adverse impacts on climate, for deceiving the public about the climate changes that they knew their products would cause, and for the costs the State of Michigan has spent and will continue to spend to address and recover from the impacts of climate change. The Attorney General of the State of Michigan seeks to hold fossil fuel companies [and the industry’s trade association] that profited from their actions for the damage they have caused and are causing. This RFP is for representation of the State of Michigan as duly-appointed Special Assistant Attorneys General on a contingency fee basis.

2. Background and Purpose.

The State of Michigan, its departments and agencies, and the State’s businesses, residents, infrastructure, public and private lands, and natural resources suffer from the negative impacts of climate change. Climate change negatively impacts the State’s economy by, among other things, decreasing tourism, harming agriculture, and depleting our tax base. The fossil fuel industry has known for decades that the use of fossil fuel products creates greenhouse gas pollution that warms the planet and leads to climate change. The impacts of climate change, in turn, have catastrophic and [potentially] irreversible consequences ranging from harmful algal blooms, uptick in invasive species and disease-bearing pests, atmospheric and ocean warming, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, more extreme and volatile weather, drought, and sea level rise. The fossil fuel industry was aware of the negative impacts of extraction and use of fossil fuels, but continued to knowingly engage in business practices and conduct that harmed the public’s health, safety, and welfare and the environment. The fossil fuel industry also hid information and deceived the public and consumers, both in and outside of Michigan, about the role of their products in causing the global climate crisis.

The environment in and around Michigan, including the precious Great Lakes, is changing as a result of fossil fuel product use and emissions, leading to increased costs and losses to the State related to damaging severe weather, damage to State property and resources held and managed for the public, losses to property and business and associated loss of tax revenue, injury or destruction of State-owned and State-operated property and facilities, increased costs to maintain infrastructure, increased costs of providing public services, and increased health care and public health costs, among other costs.

The Department of Attorney General (DAG) has long enforced Michigan’s environmental statutes and rules to protect the environment, natural resources, and public health and to require compliance with standards and limits on discharges into our environment. The regulatory framework alone may not fully account for the damage caused by fossil fuel product use and emissions, however, due to, among other things, the concealment of the known true hazards of the use of fossil fuels by the industry. Therefore, the State seeks to build on Michigan’s longstanding history of environmental and resource protection to address the climate change crisis by retaining Special Assistant Attorneys General (SAAGs) to pursue constitutional, statutory, tort and other applicable common-law claims extending to the deception and other wrongful actions by the fossil fuel industry to require the parties who profited from hiding the consequences of fossil fuel use to bear the costs of climate change on Michigan, rather than the State, taxpayers, or residents of Michigan.

The work to be performed consists of assisting the DAG in gathering needed information, determining what claims will be brought, drafting the complaints (as appropriate), conducting affirmative and defensive discovery, taking and defending depositions, motion practice, and preparing for and conducting any trials that may proceed. Without limitation to the above, the DAG will direct the role of Local Counsel. The DAG, at all times, will direct the litigation in all respects, including but not limited to, whether and when to initiate litigation, against whom actions will be taken, the claims to be brought in said litigation, approval and rejection of all settlement offers, and the amount and type of damages and injunctive relief to be sought.

3. In Scope.

The scope of work includes providing all necessary personnel, labor, materials, services, equipment, supplies, time, travel, effort, skill, and supervision required to examine, investigate, recommend, and litigate the State’s possible constitutional, statutory, tort and other applicable common law claims against fossil fuel industry defendants including but not limited to extractors, producers, transporters, refiners, manufacturers, distributors, promoters, marketers, and/or sellers of fossil fuel products.

SAAGs will be appointed to represent the State in litigation against fossil fuel industry defendants. SAAGs will develop and propose a litigation strategy to the Attorney General or her designees, including:

  • Identifying viable claims and causes of action against fossil fuel industry defendants.
  • Identifying possible defendants.
  • Pursuing all claims and actions in connection with an approved litigation strategy against defendants approved by the Attorney General.
  • Handling all appeals that may arise out of the litigation, subject to prior approval by the Attorney General.

Prior to providing any legal services on behalf of the State, an attorney must be appointed by the Attorney General as a SAAG. SAAGs must consult in advance with and advise the Attorney General’s designated representatives regarding all substantive issues affecting the litigation, as set forth in more detail in the SAAG Contract.

4. Out of Scope.

The work does not include regulatory enforcement or claims under State or federal environmental laws not specifically and expressly agreed to by the Attorney General.