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. "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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Law Firm Hosting Fundraiser For Kentucky AG Who Hired Them

    October 01, 2018 | News

    National plaintiffs' firm Morgan and Morgan will host a fundraiser for Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, Legal Newsline reports. The firm landed a contract from his office to represent the state in litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. ... Read More

  5. "ILR at 20": ILR President Rickard Sits Down With Corporate Counsel

    June 26, 2018 | News

    This week, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. ILR President Lisa A. Rickard sat for a question-and-answer discussion with Corporate Counsel on the development of the legal landscape during the first 20 years of ILR.... Read More

  6. Missouri Furthers Legal Reform Progress with Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting

    June 07, 2018 | Blogs

    In an important victory for the integrity of Missouri's civil justice system, embattled former Gov. Eric Greitens signed one of the strongest Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (TIPAC) bills in the nation on his last day in office.... Read More

  7. ILR's Quigley: Private Lawyer-Led Contingency Fee Lawsuits from Localities Create In-State "Tension"

    March 22, 2018 | News

    U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform executive Bryan Quigley said the rise of contingency fee lawsuits being filed by private lawyers on behalf of counties and cities will create "tension" between localities and state attorneys general.... Read More

  8. Kentucky Chalks Up Two Legal Reform Wins in March

    March 20, 2018 | Blogs

    The University of Kentucky Wildcats are making a strong showing in March Madness, and so is the state legislature. Over the past few weeks, Kentucky has passed two major milestones in legal reform: ensuring transparency in private attorney contracting (TIPAC), and protecting physician peer-review.... Read More

  9. The Great Myths of State False Claims Acts

    February 28, 2018 | Research

    The 2018 update to "Great Myths of State False Claims Acts" shows that the whistleblowers' bar is continuing to capitalize on state qui tam False Claims Acts (FCAs), harvesting windfall awards from states and the federal government. The paper also points out that the dubious benefits of implementing a state FCA turn into a clear financial net negative when states allow their FCAs to fall out of compliance with federal standards.... Read More

  10. The Trial Lawyers Behind the Climate Litigation Racket

    February 13, 2018 | News

    In essence, plaintiff firms are devising new theories, such as "climate crime," and using government-backed cases to test these theories in court, in the hopes of raking in billions.... Read More