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.

01/01/2019

Suggested Resources

Research
  • 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. Chamber Report Highlights State AG Conflicts of Interest Plaintiffs? Attorneys are a Source of Campaign Funds

    October 13, 2004 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform today released a report showing that some state attorneys general have created a conflict of interest by accepting campaign contributions from plaintiffs' attorneys who were then rewarded with state contracts as outside counsel.... Read More

  2. McKenna: While Congress Tackles Opioid Crisis, Lawyers Seek Payday

    December 31, 1969 | News

    Former Washington State Attorney General and U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) consultant Rob McKenna writes that "plaintiffs' lawyers have dusted off the ‘tobacco playbook' to enlist state and local officials to cash in on the opioid epidemic," in a guest ILR blog. ... Read More