Exxon-Healey Dispute Gets Hearing as State AGs Weigh In

This week in the Northern District of Texas, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade heard oral argument on Exxon Mobil’s motion for preliminary injunction against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s civil investigative demand, issued to Exxon on April 19, 2016, which sought documents from Exxon related to its analysis of research efforts to study climate change.  The argument followed two amicus briefs from state attorneys general across the country.

The first brief,… More

Recent Governance and Gift-Giving Guidance from the Non-Profit/Public Charities Division

The Non-Profit Organizations/ Public Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General (the “Division”) recently released helpful guidance regarding (i) good governance of charitable organization and (ii) the rules that apply to significant gifts between charities.

Governance Guidance

On May 25, 2016, the Division released a letter to the Board of Trustees of Suffolk University and its then-president Margaret McKenna. … More

Gun Manufacturers’ Lawsuits Challenge the Scope of the AG’s Authority Under Massachusetts’ Consumer Protection Statute

Stainless Steel Pistol Hand Gun 1911 45 ACPPetitions filed by Glock, Inc. and Remington Arms Company, LLC in Suffolk Superior Court in recent months will test the validity of a number of legal arguments that may be relied upon to set aside or limit the scope of Attorney General civil investigative demands in the Commonwealth. As we noted in an earlier post, G. L. c. 93A, § 6(1), Massachusetts’ unfair and deceptive practices statute,… More

Update: SJC Strongly Urges Plaintiffs to File Challenges to Ballot Initiatives by February 1

Voters ballot close-upAs we anticipated in an earlier post, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court provided clear guidance on the appropriate time to challenge ballot initiatives in two July 6 decisions. The opinions, both authored by Chief Justice Gants, strongly urge plaintiffs to bring challenges to ballot initiatives by February 1 in election years.

In Dunn v. Attorney General, the plaintiffs contested the Attorney General’s certification of a petition that would make it unlawful for farms to knowingly confine certain farm animals in a cruel manner and for businesses to knowingly sell certain products from animals that have been so confined.… More

Texas AG Wins Preliminary Injunction in Title IX Dispute

State AGs are once again taking a major partisan issue to the federal courts.  On August 21, 2016, at the urging of the State AG of Texas, as well as the AGs or other representatives of ten other states, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction preventing nationwide implementation of guidance, issued under Title IX, by the Departments of Justice and Education regarding gender identity.… More

Jury Convicts Pennsylvania Attorney General of Perjury and Other Official Misconduct

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

In the late evening on August 15, 2016, a 12-person jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, unanimously convicted state Attorney General Kathleen Kane of two counts of felony perjury as well as a host of misdemeanor charges, including official oppression, obstruction, false swearing and conspiracy.  Kane faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison, although Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines recommend a more lenient sentence.

Prosecutors charged Kane based on allegations that she leaked secret grand jury documents related to a 2009 embezzlement probe to retaliate against former prosecutors she believed had embarrassed her. … More

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rejects Embattled Attorney General’s Eleventh Hour Request to Postpone Perjury Trial

In a two-sentence per curiam order, Pennsylvania’s high court has denied Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s emergency application to postpone her impending criminal trial on charges of perjury, false swearing, obstruction and official oppression.  On August 1st, Kane petitioned the court to dismiss the charges against her, arguing that the judge supervising the grand jury from Montgomery County had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor.  Although Kane may ask the Court to reconsider its decision,… More

Illinois AG Targets Non-Compete Agreements for Sandwich Makers

Sandwich with prosciuttoNon-competition agreements are common — and commonly litigated — throughout several fields, such as sales, technology, and medicine.  Protection of trade secrets and the maintenance of long-term customer relationships are commonly cited as justifications for such agreements.  In a lawsuit filed on June 8, 2016 in Illinois state court, Illinois AG Lisa Madigan alleged that, by signing non-competition agreements with sandwich makers and delivery persons,… More

Exxon Sues Massachusetts AG to Block Civil Investigative Demand

On June 15, 2016, Exxon sued Massachusetts AG Maura Healey in federal court in Texas, seeking to bar the enforcement of AG Healey’s April 19, 2016 civil investigative demand, issued pursuant to M.G.L. c. 93A, the Commonwealth’s unfair and deceptive practice statute.  Under c. 93A, § 6, the AG may issue investigative demands “whenever [s]he believes a person has engaged in or is engaging in any method,… More

Texas and Alabama AGs Join the Exxon Fray

As we reported in April, the Attorney Generals of New York, California, Massachusetts, and the Virgin Islands have joined in a multistate investigation into Exxon’s knowledge of the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change as far back as 1977.  Part of that investigation includes a subpoena from the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, seeking roughly forty years of records from Exxon related to alleged violations of Virgin Islands law. … More