May 21 (Reuters) - A group of state financial officers and other public and labor leaders called on Tuesday for major asset managers to vote against top Exxon directors, citing the U.S. oil company's ongoing lawsuit against climate activists.

The group including New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and the state treasurers of Connecticut, Nevada and other states called for votes against Exxon CEO and chair Darren Woods and the company's lead independent director Joseph Hooley, saying in a statement Exxon's suit would "undermine shareholder rights."

The group named BlackRock, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs among the managers whose support it sought. A JPMorgan representative said the firm would not comment on individual votes. The other two firms did not immediately comment.

Other state financial leaders, including New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, have previously said they would vote public pension assets against Exxon directors because of the lawsuit. While the state systems are not among the largest Exxon shareholders they have played an influential role in previous company director elections.

Exxon, which is frequently the focus of critical shareholder resolutions, had sued to block a vote on a climate proposal, sidestepping the usual regulatory process. Although the investors withdrew their resolution, Exxon continued the lawsuit, seeking legal costs and other relief.

The unusual lawsuit has prompted concerns from investor groups and proxy advisers, though it is not clear if top shareholders will join earlier calls from religiously-affiliated investors to vote against Woods and Hooley at Exxon's annual meeting on May 29.

Tuesday's statement was sent by a representative for California Treasurer Fiona Ma, a board member of the California Public Employees' Retirement System. On Monday the system declared its intention to vote against all Exxon's board nominees over the lawsuit.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Rod Nickel)