Case Details


Attorney General Control Of Litigation, Discovery, Parens Patriae

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the District of the District of Columbia




Colorado v. Warner Chilcott Holdings, No. 05-2182 (CKK), Magistrate Memorandum Order (D.D.C. May 8, 2007).


Attorneys general, suing as parens patriae, were not responsible for discovery from state Medicaid agencies that were under control of the executive, not the Attorney General.

Case Description

Thirty-five states brought an antitrust case against two pharmaceutical companies, alleging that the companies had conspired to prevent the marketing of a generic version of a contraceptive, Ovcon 35. Defendants sought discovery from the plaintiff states, through their Attorneys General, concerning purchases of oral contraceptives by state Medicaid agencies. The Plaintiff states argued that the Attorneys General were not representing the state Medicaid agencies, but had instead filed as parens patriae, seeking injunctive relief to protect the general economies of their states. The magistrate judge held that the state Medicaid agencies were not under that control of the Attorney General. “Although the Medicaid agencies may be subject to control by their Governors, the State Attorneys General are not subject to discipline or removal by their Governors and bring suit under their own authority.” The magistrate judge also concluded that the defendants did not make the required showing that in each plaintiff state, “the office of the Attorney General and the Medicaid agency relate to one another such that, for discovery purposes, they may be treated as the same entity.” The court even declined to order discovery from the Attorneys General of Alaska and the District of Columbia, although the Attorney General is appointed by the executive in each of these jurisdictions, because the defendants did not make sufficient showing that the Attorney General and the state Medicaid agency were interrelated.