State Auditor May Not Retain Outside Counsel without Attorney General Approval or Opportunity to Represent Agency

State agencies in Mississippi may not retain private attorneys without first seeking representation from the attorney general, according to the Mississippi supreme court in White v. Jernigan Copeland Attys., PLLC, 346 So. 3d 887 (Miss. 2022). In 2012, Mississippi’s State Auditor entered into a memorandum of understanding with a law firm, retaining them for the…

Read More →

Indiana Governor May Retain Counsel without Attorney General’s Consent

The Indiana General Assembly enacted a law that allowed it to call itself into emergency session and overrode the Governor’s veto. The Governor sued the legislature, challenging the law as “unconstitutionally co-opting a purely executive function.” The Governor argued that under the state constitution, only the Governor can call an emergency session, and this law,…

Read More →

California Private Attorney General Statute Does Not Usurp Attorney General Powers

A lobbying group for small and mid-sized businesses challenged California’s Labor Code Private Attorney General Act (PAGA). PAGA “allows California employees to sue their employers and pursue civil penalties on behalf of the state for violations relating not only to themselves, but also to other California employees of the same employer.”  PAGA is a qui…

Read More →

Court Affirms States’ Parens Patriae Standing in Antitrust Case

Forty-nine states sued 20 manufacturers of generic drugs, alleging an anticompetitive scheme to “fix, maintain, and stabilize prices, rig bids, and engage in market and customer allocations” of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The district court recently decided defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that although the states could not seek disgorgement, they do have parens patriae standing…

Read More →

Recent Case Briefs: Attorney General Powers and Duties

The fourth edition of the most authoritative and complete source for information about state attorney general offices.

Read More →

Recent Decisions Upholding Attorney General Prosecutorial Discretion In Cases Alleging Retaliatory Prosecution

Several recent decisions, in state courts in Massachusetts and New York and in federal courts in New York, have clarified that statements made by the attorney general in connection with investigations and enforcement actions do not necessarily indicate improper bias on the part of the attorney general and do not warrant dismissal of the lawsuits….

Read More →

Attorney General’s Civil Subpoenas Upheld by State Trial and Appellate Courts and Federal Court In Parallel Civil/Criminal Proceedings

New York courts recently issued decisions involving the interplay between criminal and civil investigations. In People v. Trump Organization, No. 451685/2020 (N.Y. Sup.Ct. Feb. 17, 2022), the court denied a motion to quash subpoenas issued in a civil investigation while a parallel criminal investigation was occurring. The attorney general initiated a civil investigation into whether…

Read More →

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” 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…

Read More →

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…

Read More →

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…

Read More →