Juliana v. United States Climate Trial Set for October 29, 2018


On April 12, 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin set October 29, 2018 as the trial date for Juliana v. United States, the constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people. The trial will be heard before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon.

Julia Olson, who is the lead counsel on the case and the executive director of Our Children's Trust, the legal non-profit organization representing the youth, 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?

Here's what some of the youth plaintiffs had to say:

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.
— Jaime Butler, 17-year-old plaintiff from Flagstaff, Arizona and a member of the Navajo Nation
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.
— Miko Vergun, 16-year-old plaintiff from Beaverton, Oregon
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.
— Jacob Lebel, 21-year-old plaintiff from Roseburg, Oregon
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.
— Isaac Vergun, 15-year-old plaintiff from Beaverton, Oregon

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.