Case Details


Common Law Powers, Parens Patriae, Removal

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi




Hood v. Microsoft Corp., 428 F.Supp.2d 537 (S.D. Miss. 2006)


Attorney General has broad common law powers, including power to institue suit necessary for enforcement of state laws. Injunctive relief goes beyond securing benefits to individuals, and Attorney General’s suit should not be removed to federal court.

Case Description

The Attorney General of Mississippi filed suit in state court against Microsoft, alleging monopolization by the company which resulted in damages to the state as purchaser and also representing Mississippi customers as parens patriae. Microsoft sought removal to federal district court on the grounds of diversity, arguing that with respect to the parens claims, the citizens who would ultimately receive the money were the real parties in interest. The district court first looked at “whether the injury is one the State could redress through its sovereign lawmaking powers” and found that the state had enacted antitrust and consumer protection statutes. Althought none of the relevant statutes used the words “parens patriae,” under Mississippi common law, the Attorney General “is a constitutional officer possessed of all the power and authority inherited from the common law as well as that specifically conferred upon him by statute . . . including the right to institute, conduct and maintain all suits necessary for the enforcement of the laws of the State, preservation of order and the protection of public rights.” The court noted that the state had a quasi-sovereign interest in the economic well-being of its citizens, including securing the integrity of the marketplace.” The Attorney General also sought injunctive relief on one of the claims, and this type of prospective relief goes beyond addressing the claims of previously injured parties. “It is aimed at securing an honest marketplace, promoting proper business practices, protecting Mississippi consumers, and advancing Mississippi’s interest in the economic well-being of its residents.” Incidental benefit to private parties does not minimize or negate the Attorney General’s interest.