State Attorneys General

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.


Suggested Resources

  • Mitigating Municipality Litigation: Scope and Solutions

    Mitigating Municipality Litigation: Scope and Solutions

    March 06, 2019

    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

  • Waking the Litigation Monster: The Misuse of Public Nuisance

    Waking the Litigation Monster: The Misuse of Public Nuisance

    March 06, 2019

    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

All Results for State Attorneys General

  1. Former Mass. Secretary of Energy Urges Mass. AG to Focus on Climate Solutions, Instead of Climate Lawsuits

    March 13, 2020 | News

    Joseph Fitzpatrick, a former Massachusetts secretary of energy, wrote an op-ed in the Boston Business Journal urging Massachusetts AG Maura Healey to use practical actions to address climate change rather than just filing lawsuits. ... Read More

  2. Kansas' AG looks to curb trial lawyer involvement in opioid and vaping suits

    March 06, 2020 | News

    Kansas' AG Derek Schmid is pushing for a state law that could require cities, counties, and local school districts to get a waiver from the AG's office before hiring outside attorneys to sue companies, including manufactures of opioid and vaping products, according to a report that ran in The New York Times and 132 other outlets. ... Read More

  3. AGs Balk at Attorneys' Fee Bid in Opioid MDL

    February 25, 2020 | News

    A bipartisan group of 37 attorneys general say the fee model asked for by the plaintiffs' attorneys in the massive opioid multidistrict litigation proceedings are "well beyond what is necessary to ensure fair compensation for private counsel," Law360 reports.... Read More

  4. Negotiation Class Subverts Authority, States Say

    February 19, 2020 | News

    A group of 12 states and the District of Columbia urged the Sixth Circuit to stop the use of the "negotiation class" in the multidistrict opioid litigation in Ohio, Law360 reports.... Read More

  5. In the News Today - October 25, 2019

    October 25, 2019 | News

    Shapiro: ‘Legal action' coming for companies tied to PFAS drinking water contamination... Read More

  6. Oklahoma Opioid Settlements, Judgments Raise Question: Where Does the Money Go?

    August 28, 2019 | News

    With the addition of Monday's $572 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's earlier settlements with Purdue and Teva, the state's legal campaign against the opioid industry has accumulated nearly $1 billion. ... Read More

  7. An Oklahoma Opioid Stickup

    August 27, 2019 | News

    The Wall Street Journal editorial board took aim at yesterday's ruling by an Oklahoma judge that Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million for what Judge Balkman called "misleading marketing" of opioids in the state, even though the company's sales make up less than one percent of Oklahoma's prescription opioid market. ... Read More

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. In the News Today - April 9, 2019

    April 09, 2019 | News

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