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. "Tort Lawyers and Attorneys General: A Corruptible Combination"

    February 09, 2018 | News

    A RealClearMarkets commentary said the "gambit" of private plaintiffs' attorneys who sue on behalf of state and local governments "appears to be backfiring."... Read More

  2. Top 10 Legal Reform Research Topics of 2017

    January 11, 2018 | News

    Review ILR's wide-ranging top ten legal reform research topics from 2017 and gain insights for 2018.... Read More

  3. Report: West Virginia Legal Climate Improving; Should Stay on a Reform Path

    January 10, 2018 | News

    A new study from the Institute for Legal Reform, West Virginia's Climb: Lawsuit Climate Progress in the Mountain State and the Path Ahead, highlights major improvements in the state's civil justice system over the last three years. ... Read More

  4. State Attorneys General Taking An "Ever-Increasing Role" in Regulation

    August 09, 2017 | News and Blog

    State attorneys general have taken on an ever-increasing role in consumer protection, often banding together to form multistate committees that investigate companies, writes The Recorder.... Read More

  5. The ILR Research Review - Spring 2017

    May 08, 2017 | Research

    This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's recent research on the latest trends in litigation and the tactics and strategies entrepreneurial plaintiffs' firms are using to expand their business models and bring more lawsuits in local, state, federal, and international courts.... Read More

  6. Engineered Liability: The Plaintiffs' Bar's Campaign to Expand Data Privacy and Security Litigation

    April 19, 2017 | Research

    As data breaches are becoming more commonplace, the plaintiffs' bar is engineer a staggering expansion of liability in the areas of privacy and data security. Class action lawyers are pursuing data privacy cases and amassing fortunes even where no one has been harmed. This paper examines the data privacy and security legal landscape, plaintiffs' bar tactics, major cases and settlements, and a suggested framework for reform.... Read More

  7. AG Reyes Says GC's Should Engage with Prosecutors at Event Co-Hosted by ILR

    March 30, 2017 | News and Blog

    During an event co-hosted by ILR and the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center, Emerging Technologies and Torts of the Future, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes provided "practical tips" for company lawyers on how to work with state prosecutors, writes the National Law Journal. ... Read More

  8. New State AG Landscape Post Election

    November 14, 2016 | News and Blog

    On Election Day, ten states voted for attorneys general. Five seats were retained by incumbents, and five seats now belong to newcomers to the post. Five seats went to Republicans and five went to Democrats. There will now be 25 Republican and 21 Democrats, a gain of one seat for the GOP writes Jesse Panuccio, an attorney for Foley & Lardner LLP, in Law360. ... Read More

  9. Big Bucks and Local Lawyers: The Increasing Use of Contingency Fee Lawyers by Local Governments

    October 26, 2016 | Research

    The increasing use of contingency fee counsel by local government entities is a disturbing trend that poses real risks to the fair and impartial administration of justice.... Read More

  10. Concerns Remain over LA Gov's Hiring of Contingency Fee Attorneys to Sue Oil & Gas Industry

    October 03, 2016 | News and Blog

    The Louisiana governor's office said it has made some slight changes to the contracts of contingency fee plaintiffs' lawyers it hired to sue oil and gas companies on behalf of the state, after state Attorney General Jeff Landry had voiced concerns over the contracts. The governor's legal counsel, however, thinks the AG will still oppose the contracts. ... Read More