State Attorneys General

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State attorneys general (AG) play an increasingly prominent role in enforcing laws and regulations affecting the business community. In some instances, AGs engage in inconsistent, duplicative, and politically-motivated actions, often collaborating with contingency fee counsel.Read More...

Modern state AG litigation using private contingency fee counsel began with the lawsuits filed against tobacco companies in the 1990s. The tobacco litigation resulted in billions of dollars in state revenue and as a result led many state AGs to target additional business sectors, such as the pharmaceutical, financial services, and energy industries. Many AGs hire outside plaintiffs’ lawyers for cases, raising questions about conflicts of interest and political favoritism. This provides outside counsel the incentive to seek large damages and obtain significant attorney’s fees.

ILR works with AGs to help adopt rational enforcement policies and engage in productive ways with the business community. Supporting policies aimed at reining in over-enforcement, limiting the hiring of contingency fee counsel by state AGs, and exposing abuses, reflect the core mission of ILR’s state AG program.

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Research

All Results for State Attorneys General

  1. Oklahoma Opioid Settlements Raise Concerns, Affected Municipalities See Little Benefit

    June 24, 2019 | News

    Oklahoma's settlements with Purdue and Teva have sparked tensions between Oklahoma municipalities and the state, The Washington Post reports.... Read More

  2. ILR President Rickard: Public Nuisance Lawsuits "Could Devour All of Tort"

    June 21, 2019 | News

    In a new op-ed in RealClearMarkets, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard said the rise of public nuisance lawsuits may create a "monster that could devour all of tort." ... Read More

  3. In the News Today - April 9, 2019

    April 09, 2019 | News

    Mississippi AG Candidate Says State Should Stop Using Private Lawyers... Read More

  4. ILR Research Review - Spring 2019

    March 21, 2019 | Research

    The rising pace of private securities class actions could present a threat to the health of U.S. capital markets, while the ongoing wave of municipality lawsuits stands in the way of global settlements and undermines the authority of lawmakers and state attorneys general. White papers covered in this edition of the ILR Research Review detail the causes and current state of these litigation trends, along with a full suite of solutions to address them.... Read More

  5. In the News Today - Mach 14, 2019

    March 14, 2019 | News

    Virginia doesn't want one of Bloomberg's environmental prosecutors sent to its AG's office... Read More

  6. Mitigating Municipality Litigation: Scope and Solutions

    March 06, 2019 | Research

    Municipalities are testing the boundaries of their litigation authority, claiming damages for wide-ranging matters of public policy including opioid abuse, climate change, and data privacy breaches. This paper is the first to document how and why municipalities and contingency fee lawyers are undermining legislators and state AGs with these lawsuits, the problems this trend is causing, and what states can do about it. ... Read More

  7. Waking the Litigation Monster: The Misuse of Public Nuisance

    March 06, 2019 | Research

    Local governments are increasingly teaming up with contingency fee lawyers to influence public policy issues through litigation, largely through attempts to expand the public nuisance doctrine. ILR's research outlines the origins and development of public nuisance litigation, shows the ongoing efforts of activists and attorneys to morph this theory into an all-purpose cause of action, and calls on courts to reject expanding judicial authority inappropriately into the legislative and executive branches. ... Read More

  8. "Leave Opioid Lawsuits to State Attorneys General"

    March 04, 2019 | News

    In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and former Connecticut Deputy Attorney General Perry Zinn Rowthorn called on local and municipal governments to drop their lawsuits, and instead work with attorneys general to achieve a final resolution in opioid litigation across the country.... Read More

  9. A Look At How State AGs are Becoming "1st Round Draft Picks" of American Politics

    November 06, 2018 | News

    On Election Day, a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College looks at how state attorneys general "should be the group everyone is watching" in politics.... Read More

  10. Is a New York Law School Implanting Activists in Attorneys General Offices?

    October 10, 2018 | News

    A RealClearInvestigations report shows that a New York University School of Law program may be sending agenda-driven lawyers to attorneys general offices around the country. ... Read More