Case Details


Attorney General Power To Issue Civil Investigative Demands And Right Of Public To Know.

Filing State



District Court Franklin Cty., Kentucky




ABC Inc. v. Commonwealth, 11-CI-00119 (Franklin Dist. Ct. Dist. 1 Mar. 25, 2011)


Corporation cannot anonymously challenge Attorney General of Kentucky’s issuance of CIDs. Public has right to know of Attorney General actions

Case Description

Attorney General of Kentucky initiated an investigation of for-profit post-secondary institutions under the state’s consumer protection law and issued civil investigative demands (CIDs) in connection with that investigation. A corporation that received one of the CIDs filed suit challenging the CID as overbroad and alleging that there was no reasonable basis to investigate the industry. The plaintiff company filed the suit anonymously, as ABC Inc., alleging that there could be negative publicity if it was known to have received a CID. The Attorney General challenged the corporation’s right to file suit anonymously. The court held that the mere fact of receiving a CID did not “give rise to a right to invoke the jurisdiction of the Court and to litigate its challenge to the authority of the Attorney General under a veil of secrecy which would deny the public the right to know the identity of the parties to this action.” The court also supported its holding by noting that if the Attorney General had issued a subpoena, either in a civil or a criminal case, that fact would be public. The court gave the plaintiff ten days to file its complaint in its own name, holding in abeyance the plaintiff’s other claims. The court later dismissed those claims.