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Herrera statement on appellate decision that allows case to proceed against fossil fuel companies

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

“It is time for these companies to pay their fair share. They should not be able to stick taxpayers with the bill for the damage they knew they were causing.”

SAN FRANCISCO (May 26, 2020) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement today about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision to allow San Francisco and Oakland’s lawsuits against major fossil fuel producers to proceed:

“We filed this case in state court because that is where it belongs. We’re pleased the federal appellate court has issued this unanimous decision in our favor. San Francisco and Oakland taxpayers are already incurring the costs of dealing with the damage these fossil fuel companies knowingly caused. It is time for these companies to pay their fair share. They should not be able to stick taxpayers with the bill for the damage they knew they were causing. We will continue to hold these companies accountable for their decades-long campaign of public deception about climate change and its consequences. We’re pleased that we can proceed with this case to protect our residents, workers, and businesses from the costs and damage these fossil fuel companies knowingly imposed on our communities.”

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Climate Change

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker filed separate lawsuits on behalf of their respective cities against the top five oil and gas companies, asking the courts to hold them responsible for the costs of the infrastructure necessary to protect their cities from the consequences of climate change caused by their massive production of fossil fuels.

Sanctuary Cities

On January 31, 2017 City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration for his executive order directing enforcement action against sanctuary cities and threatening to withhold federal funding from these cities. The suit claims that the order is unconstitutional and exceeds the president’s power.

Gun Safety

Five online suppliers that had been flouting both state and San Francisco law by selling illegal large-capacity magazines as “repair kits” to customers in California have agreed to a wide-ranging injunction that compels them to follow the law. The settlement agreement improves safety in California communities and ensures that rogue companies comply with the law.

Affordable Housing

In efforts to combat the affordable housing crisis in San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has taken broad actions ranging from filing lawsuits against unscrupulous landowners like Academy of Art University to cracking down on affordable housing fraudsters.


Featured Highlights

Accepting Internship Applications

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Law School Internship Program is a unique and competitive educational offering that draws applicants from across the nation.  Participants are chosen based on their promise to emerge as leaders and difference-makers in government and public-interest law, and they work closely with mentors on a wide range of meaningful cases.  But you can’t be accepted if you don’t apply on-time.  Applications for the Spring 2020 program must be received by October 18th, 2019.

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Major Cases Map

Our new major cases map feature (still in beta) enables users to browse neighborhoods, navigate the city, and click on geo-tags for informational pop-ups about the City Attorney’s Office’s work there. Each pop-up  links to news releases to read more on the case. 

Deputy City Attorneys Jon Givner and Andrew Shen

Political activities

The City Attorney’s Office’s annual political activities memo offers a useful overview of basic rules that city officials and employees must follow if they choose to take part in activities for political campaigns.  There is also helpful guidance for commissions and departments.

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Good Government

Check out the extensive resources that the City Attorney’s Office offers to help ensure adherence to good government practices by city officials and employees. Most of these are also helpful for residents, to further their understanding of local law and government. There is also helpful guidance for commissions and departments.

About the Office

Learn why the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has been honored by the American Bar Association for “outstanding excellence,” and praised as “one of the most aggressive and talented city law departments in the nation” by American Lawyer magazine.