Kasowitz’s State Attorneys General Practice offers clients experience-driven representation in state Attorneys General investigations and enforcement actions. Our group, which includes former State Attorneys General, former Deputy State Attorneys General, a Special Assistant Attorney General and litigators in major actions brought by state Attorneys General, understands the priorities, powers and duties of state Attorneys General in the various state governments and in the broader law enforcement community.
We appreciate the many roles that state Attorneys General play in virtually every legal issue. Our group stays abreast of the key topics and initiatives focused upon by state Attorneys General both through the connections we have established with Attorneys General throughout our careers and by participating in meetings held by the various Attorneys General associations. We are uniquely equipped to monitor Attorneys General offices and report to clients on how their businesses could be impacted by the enforcement goals of a single state or group of states. Our awareness of the regulatory and enforcement agenda and our insiders’ perspective on the priorities of the individual Attorneys General position us to help our clients avoid expensive state Attorneys General investigations and litigation.
Internal investigations serve a critical role in our ability to help clients assess situations in which corrective business practices or proactive engagement with state Attorneys General could lessen the threat of potential litigation. We are uniquely equipped to conduct credible and effective independent internal investigations under the guidance of attorneys including Senator Joseph Lieberman. Having served as the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut and Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the lead Senate Committee in charge of numerous governmental investigations, Senator Lieberman has decades of investigative experience and is fully familiar with the investigative and enforcement process. He understands how to work with members of both parties to address problems concerning public welfare, including the sort of consumer protection and commerce issues often involved in situations giving rise to state Attorneys General litigation.
Also benefitting clients exposed to cases and investigations is our extensive experience negotiating with state Attorneys General to resolve such matters. We have achieved landmark settlements leading to revolutionary changes in industry conduct and extraordinary financial benefits for our clients. We have also obtained favorable results in cases we have litigated through trial against state Attorneys General, with one such case generating recognition for our attorneys as being the most effective complex business/civil litigation attorneys in their state in the year in which the victory was achieved.
Our experience representing clients in matters involving state Attorneys General extends to issues including consumer fraud, price fixing, health care cost recovery, deceptive trade practices, market timing, late trading, environmental violations and Title IX.
Notable representations include:
- Conceived of, negotiated and implemented the first-ever settlements in smoking and health litigation, settling health care cost recovery actions brought by states' Attorneys General against Liggett Group Inc., one of the major tobacco companies. These path-breaking settlements led to revolutionary changes in industry conduct, as well as extraordinary financial benefits for our client. Over the past 18 years, the firm has represented Liggett in lawsuits brought by state Attorneys General, in post-settlement lawsuits and arbitrations concerning settlement payment obligations, and in disputes relating to cigarette marketing practices. In this connection, the firm has had productive dealings with the Attorneys General of nearly every state regarding tobacco-related matters.
- Representing NuCal Foods, Inc., one of the nation’s largest egg producers, in an investigation being conducted by the Florida Attorney General’s office regarding allegations of price-fixing violations of the Sherman Act. The firm also represents the company in defending a multi-district litigation proceeding in federal district court in Philadelphia, in which NuCal and most of the country’s other large shell egg and processed egg products producers are accused of the same conduct.
- Represented Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in a consumer fraud case brought by the Florida Attorney General. The case challenged Wyndham's policies, disclosure and imposition of automatic hotel charges, such as resort fees and energy surcharges, from which the company derives tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Kasowitz also represented Wyndham in a purported nationwide class action in a New York court, which was based on similar factual allegations. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a nationwide class and the case was subsequently dismissed.
- Represented MBIA, the largest monoline insurance company, in a Second Circuit case in which the Court ruled that the company was owed D&O insurance coverage from Federal Insurance Company and ACE American Insurance Company for losses incurred from investigations by the New York Attorney General and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into alleged accounting misstatements. The Court also held that MBIA was entitled to coverage for the costs of an independent auditor that resulted from settlements with the government agencies and of a Special Litigation Committee that MBIA formed to respond to shareholder lawsuits. Of special significance was the Court’s ruling that the government investigations initiated by subpoena constituted covered “claims” as defined by the governing policies, as well as its ruling on a Special Litigation Committee, as the formation of such committees is a common result of securities-related lawsuits, especially those that are derivative in nature.
- Successfully obtained a defense judgment at a three-week bench trial on behalf of Alltel Communications, Inc., which was acquired in early 2009 by Verizon Wireless, in a deceptive trade practices action brought on behalf of approximately 500,000 Florida subscribers to Alltel’s roadside assistance program. The win against the Florida Attorney General’s Office sought more than $20 million and billions in additional statutory penalties from Alltel Communications. As a result, our attorneys were named by the Daily Business Review as South Florida’s “Most Effective Lawyers” for 2011 in the category for Complex Business/Civil Litigation.
- Successful representation of mutual fund managers and operations personnel from Alliance Capital in investigations by the SEC and the New York Attorney General's Office into the alleged market timing and late trading of those funds.
- Post-charge representation of the former CEO of Invesco in the highly-publicized enforcement actions concerning market timing in mutual funds by the SEC and the New York Attorney General's Office.
- Represented Southern Union in a case involving the sale of its Rhode Island gas distribution business to National Grid for $575 million. The sale was vigorously opposed by the Governor and Attorney General of Rhode Island, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, a town and other intervenors, who sought to block the sale or condition its approval on Southern Union's posting of a $55 million escrow to fund the environmental remediation of soil contamination allegedly arising from the deposit of manufactured gas plant waste in the early to mid 1900's. Kasowitz represented Southern Union before the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, and won approval of the sale free of any escrow or other conditions. Kasowitz then defeated a state court injunction action seeking to block the sale pending appeal of the administrative decision. Kasowitz represented Southern Union in winning approval of the sale, and continued to represent Southern Union in its defense of environmental liability claims in federal court and in Rhode Island regulatory proceedings.