AG Elections

Democrat Sharon Fairley Declares Run for Illinois Attorney General

  • Democrat Sharon Fairley, former chief administrator of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, announced her candidacy in the open 2018 race for Illinois AG.
  • Fairley joins three fellow Democrats—state Representative Scott Drury, state Senator Kwame Raoul, and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering—seeking the Democratic nomination for AG. Erika Harold is the sole Republican to announce her candidacy to date.
  • Incumbent Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, announced last month on her campaign website that she will not seek re-election in 2018.

Republican Tom Leonard Announces Candidacy for Michigan Attorney General

Environment

14 AGs Plan to Sue EPA for Ignoring Clean Air Act Deadline; 2 AGs Plan to Sue to Preserve the Clean Power Plan

  • 14 AGs, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) a Notice of Intent to Sue for failing to meet the Clean Air Act’s statutory deadline for designating areas of the country impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone or smog.
  • According to the AGs, the EPA’s failure to designate areas of the country with suboptimal ambient air quality standards by the October 1, 2017 statutory deadline violates a key agency obligation under the Clean Air Act designed to protect the public’s health. The AGs’ notice fulfills the Act’s requirement that parties provide a 60-day notice prior to filing a lawsuit.
  • Separately, AG Schneiderman and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey announced plans for additional legal action against the EPA to preserve the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”)—an Obama-era EPA-administered regulatory scheme aimed at reducing power plant emissions—following EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal to repeal the CPP.
  • As previously reported, President Trump’s March 2017 executive order to roll back the CPP was met with support from the Republican Attorneys General Association (“RAGA”) and opposition from a coalition of 23 states, cities, and counties, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman.

Financial Industry

Pennsylvania Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Student Loan Company for Alleged Deceptive and Predatory Loan Tactics

  • Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit against student loan company Navient Corporation and its subsidiary Navient Solutions, LLC (collectively “Navient”) for allegedly violating state and federal consumer protection laws by engaging in deceptive and predatory loan tactics against student borrowers.
  • According to the complaint, Navient allegedly offered risky and expensive subprime loans to students that were likely to default, loosened its credit standards to make predatory loans to students who could not afford them, and concealed material facts from prospective student loan borrowers, such as high default rates.
  • The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin Navient from selling or collecting any subprime private loans subject to the litigation, restitution to borrowers who suffered losses as a result of Navient’s business practices, disgorgement, and withdrawal of any related judgments, liens, or other legal proceedings, among other things.
  • As previously reported, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, and Washington AG Bob Ferguson filed separate lawsuits against Navient over similar allegations in January 2017.

Pharmaceuticals

New Jersey Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Company for Alleged Consumer Fraud, False Insurance Claims

  • New Jersey AG Christopher Porrino filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics, Inc. (“Insys”) for allegedly violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and False Claims Act by aggressively pushing “off label” uses of Subsys, its opioid fentanyl drug.
  • According to the complaint, Insys allegedly pushed healthcare providers to prescribe Subsys for off-label uses, which is prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, paid providers sham speaking and consulting fees, misled patients by falsely representing that Subsys was being prescribed by physicians based on their unbiased clinical judgment, and induced insurers to pay for off-label uses of the drug by developing false patient records.
  • The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin Insys from further violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and False Claims Act, and seeks civil penalties, damages, court costs and attorneys’ fees.
  • As previously reported, Arizona AG Mark Brnovich, Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum separately filed similar lawsuits against Insys alleging deceptive advertising in promoting Subsys.

State AGs in the News

Missouri Attorney General Announces Bid for U.S. Senate in 2018

  • Missouri AG Josh Hawley announced his intention to seek the Missouri Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
  • AG Hawley, first elected as AG in 2016, previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Michael W. McConnell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
  • AG Hawley joins Republicans Tony Monetti, Austin Petersen, and Courtland Sykes in vying for the Republican Senate seat nomination. The seat is currently held by incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who is running for re-election to a third term.

State v. Federal

18 Democratic AGs Oppose HHS’s Removal of Employer Contraception Coverage Requirement, 2 AGs File Lawsuits to Preserve Coverage

  • 18 Democratic AGs, led by Virginia AG Mark Herring and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, sent a letter to (now former) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Acting Secretary Don Wright, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (collectively “Departments”) expressing strong opposition to an interim final rule which broadens the types of entities that can claim a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) requirement that employer-sponsored health plans cover contraceptive services for their employees.
  • Under the ACA, private health insurers are required to provide coverage for FDA-approved methods of birth control, without patient cost-sharing. Under the interim final rule, HHS broadened the types of groups that can claim a religious exemption to the contraceptive coverage requirement to include nonprofit and for-profit organizations and higher educational institutions that provide health coverage for their students. Previously, the religious exemption only applied to religious non-profit organizations and closely-held for-profit companies.
  • In the letter, the AGs write that allowing the broader group of entities to opt-out of the requirement will take away women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and jeopardize insurance coverage of contraceptives for other medical conditions.
  • Separately, California AG Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts AG Healey filed lawsuits against the Departments alleging that the new rule is unconstitutional by allowing the federal government to endorse certain religious beliefs over personal health care decisions.