Squire Patton Boggs’ State Attorneys General Practice Group is comprised of lawyers who have served at senior levels in state AG offices around the country and whose practices focus, to one degree or another, on representing clients before these increasingly assertive and powerful, yet often overlooked, government agencies, as explained in detail here.
In these updates, we will call attention to the most noteworthy state AG news or developments emerging in the previous week.
In December 2016, 20 state AGs filed a federal antitrust suit against several generic drug manufacturers “alleging that they entered into illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two drugs,” according to a press release from Connecticut AG George Jepsen, who is leading the suit. In a March 1 press release, AG Jepsen announced that 20 additional states have joined the suit. The amended complaint, now from 40 states, also “adds claims of alleged violations of state antitrust laws . . . in each of the 40 states, as well as state consumer protection laws in most of the states.” The press release states that in 2014, Connecticut “initiated an investigation of the reasons behind suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals,” and the investigation “uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.” The states claim that the generic drug manufacturers’ “allegedly anticompetitive conduct . . . caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system,” according to the press release.
Massachusetts AG Maura Healey has announced that “[m]ultiple individuals will receive monetary damages and several property owners and management companies across the state will strengthen their anti-discrimination and fair housing policies after three separate settlements were reached over claims of disability-based housing discrimination against tenants,” according to a Massachusetts AG press release. The press release states that the settlements secured $155,000 in restitution for tenants, penalties and funding for related educational programs. The settlements “resolv[ed] allegations that the defendants, mainly property owners and managers, discriminated against tenants by failing to reasonably accommodate their disabilities,” according to the press release. The press release notes that under Massachusetts law, “it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability in the rental of housing accommodations.”
On February 28, a “coalition” of state AGs from five states and the District of Columbia issued a statement that they “strongly oppose President Trump’s [executive order] that undermines Clean Water Act protections and the public health and environment,” according to a press release from New York AG Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the “coalition.” The President has “described [the executive order] as paving the way to the elimination of the [Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)] Clean Water Rule,” per the press release. The AGs say that the Clean Water Rule is a “measured, reasonable, and lawful application of sound and uncontroverted science to protect our nation’s upstream source waters,” and that the President’s executive order “runs counter to the Clean Water Act’s, and the EPA’s, very purpose: achieving clean water.”
Texas AG Ken Paxton also issued a statement on March 1 regarding that executive order, saying: “We welcome President Trump’s action today and are reviewing his executive order. The Obama administration’s illegal federal overreach on the [Clean Water Rule] poses a burden to Texas property owners and others whose land would be subject to new EPA regulations.” AG Paxton noted that “[f]armers, ranchers and agriculture workers in Texas and throughout the country opposed the rule.”