Massachusetts “anti-SLAPP” Statute Does Not Apply to Attorney General Actions

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that the state’s “anti-SLAPP”1 statute does not apply to actions by the attorney general. Commonwealth v. Exxon-Mobil, No. 13211 (Mass. May 24, 2022). Anti-SLAPP statutes “provide defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits —filed against them for exercising their First Amendment rights. These laws aim to…

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DC Court of Appeals Defines Qualifications for Candidates for DC Attorney General

In a rare case addressing the qualifications for the office of attorney general, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that a candidate’s tenure as a city councilmember did not satisfy the D.C. Code’s requirement that the District of Columbia attorney general must have “(5) . . . been actively engaged, for at least…

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Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Independence of Indiana Attorney General

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed the Indiana attorney general’s independence in a recent decision in an employment discrimination suit against the former attorney general of Indiana. The former attorney general had been present at a party held on the final day of the legislative session and allegedly verbally and physically…

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Arkansas Supreme Court Addresses Immunity Defenses for Attorney General

The Arkansas Supreme Court recently clarified how sovereign immunity and statutory immunity apply to actions of the attorney general in Rutledge v. Remmel, 2022 Ark. 86 (Ark. 2022). Plaintiffs sued the attorney general in both her official and her individual capacity, seeking both injunctive and monetary relief. They alleged that the attorney general had filed…

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Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Rules that Attorney General May Not Prosecute Election Law Violations

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently ruled, on separation of powers grounds, that the attorney general of Texas does not have authority to prosecute violations of Texas’ election laws, and that a statute purporting to give the attorney general that power is unconstitutional. Texas v. Stephens, No. PD-1033-20 (Tex. Crim. App. Dec. 15, 2021)….

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Korean Company Has Sufficient Nexus with State to Permit Gas Price Manipulation Suit by California Attorney General

A recent decision by the California Court of Appeal clarified that, to demonstrate the court’s personal jurisdiction over a defendant in an antitrust case, the attorney general must simply establish that a defendant’s activities directed at the California market have a direct nexus with the anticompetitive conduct alleged in the complaint. SK Trading International Co….

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Kansas Attorney General May Appeal Trial Court Decision After Intervening

The Kansas supreme court recently issued a decision on mask mandates which addressed the attorney general’s right to appeal after having intervened in the case. Butler v. Shawnee Mission Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 2022 Kan. LEXIS 4 (Kan. Jan. 7, 2022). The school board of Shawnee Mission, Kansas adopted a mask mandate to address…

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Recent Decisions on the Common Interest Doctrine and Multistate Cases

State courts in Minnesota and Vermont have reached different conclusions about whether documents produced and exchanged by state attorneys general, working together on investigations, are protected by the common interest doctrine from release under state public records acts. In each case, Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) made requests under the Minnesota and Vermont public records statutes…

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Tennessee Attorney General Use of Investigative Demands Approved

A recent decision in Tennessee reaffirmed that attorney general’s civil investigative authority and upheld sanctions against a company who failed to produce the requested material. In In re Investigation of Wall and Assocs. 2021 Tenn. App. LEXIS 449 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 12. 2021), the defendant was a provider of taxpayer services.  The Tennessee attorney…

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Lure of Direct Impact Draws Members of Congress into Attorney General Roles

State attorneys general have often sought other political offices after their service as chief legal officer of their state. Lately, incumbent and former members of Congress have decided to run for state attorney general instead. There’s a long-standing joke that “AG” doesn’t just stand for attorney general but for “aspiring governor” as well. At present…

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