For years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have developed relationships with state attorneys general and pitched them to represent states against pharmaceutical, financial services, energy, and various other types of companies over a broad range of claims. In some instances, this resulted in state AGs awarding no-bid and secret contracts to private attorneys on a contingency fee basis. Read More...
Now, using their tried-and-true state AG blueprint, plaintiffs’ lawyers have found a new way to expand their business model: building relationships with cities and counties, pitching them with opportunities to bring lawsuits over matters of statewide and national concern, and representing them on a contingency fee basis. These lawsuits range from opioids to climate change to data privacy—serious issues of great public importance that should be addressed by policymakers, not private lawyers representing cities and counties.
Recently, the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released Mitigating Municipality Litigation: Scope and Solutions, which outlines the consequences of municipality lawsuits including limiting the potential for global settlement, undermining the authority of state legislatures and attorneys general, and reducing the funds available to compensate victims. ILR also recently released Waking the Litigation Monster: The Misuse of Public Nuisance, which details how trial lawyers are increasingly attempting to expand the public nuisance doctrine to bring lawsuits (increasingly on behalf of municipalities) to address wide-ranging societal issues that should be left to the political branch.
Municipality litigation is bad for plaintiffs, bad for defendants, and bad for communities. The only group that benefits are the plaintiffs’ lawyers who see a potentially massive client base and opportunity for huge profits. States must rein in municipality lawsuits so there can be a path to justice for everyone.