The State AG Report Weekly Update August 9, 2018

2018 AG Elections

Kansas Republican and Democratic Parties Nominate Attorney General Candidates Following Uncontested Primaries

  • Kansas held statewide primary elections on August 7, 2018.
  • Two-term incumbent AG Derek Schmidt, who was first elected in 2010, won the Republican primary unopposed, and his Democratic challenger, criminal defense attorney Sarah Swain, also won her primary unopposed.
  • Schmidt and Swain will face off in the general election on November 6, 2018.

Gaming/Gambling

Colorado Attorney General Issues Formal Opinion Analyzing the Legality of Commercial Sports Betting Under State Law

  • Colorado AG Cynthia Coffman issued a Formal Opinion analyzing the legality of commercial sports betting under Colorado state law in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), which struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), a federal law that prohibited most states from authorizing state-sanctioned sports gambling.
  • The AG’s Formal Opinion explains that commercial sports betting is unlawful under Colorado’s criminal code, which prohibits various kinds of gambling.
  • The AG’s opinion concludes that legalization of sports betting would require a statutory change to the state’s gambling provisions, but not a constitutional amendment.
  • As previously reported, Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice analyzed the broader impact of Murphy and the post-PASPA legislative, regulatory, and business landscape in the New Jersey Law Journal.

Medicaid Fraud

Texas Attorney General Reaches Settlements with Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Over Allegations of Misleading Marketing of Medications to State Medicaid Providers

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reached two settlements with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca LP and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP (collectively, “AstraZeneca”) over allegations they violated the state Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act through the allegedly off-label marketing of two prescription drugs to state Medicaid providers.
  • The AG alleges that AstraZeneca marketed two prescription medications, Seroquel, an anti-psychotic, and Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, engaged in conduct that allegedly violated a 2010 federal “corporate integrity agreement” that arose from prior allegations of Medicaid fraud, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to two former state hospital doctors to unduly influence the use of the two drugs.
  • Under the separate settlements related to Crestor and Seroquel, AstraZeneca has agreed to pay a combined $82.5 million in disgorgement, restitution, compensatory relief, and penalties to the state, and an additional $27.5 million for attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the state and the whistleblowers who related the cases to the state.

State AGs in the News

Michigan Attorney General Secures Republican Nomination for 2018 Gubernatorial Election

  • Michigan AG Bill Schuette secured the Republican nomination for Governor and will face the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former prosecutor and state Senator Gretchen Whitmer, in the general election on November 6, 2018.
  • Schuette, who has served two terms as AG since 2010, won a contested primary, defeating Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, state Senator Patrick Colbeck, and physician Jim Hines for the Republican nomination.
  • The 2018 Michigan gubernatorial election will be an open race, as incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder is retiring.

Missouri Attorney General Secures Republican Nomination for 2018 U.S. Senate Election

  • Missouri AG Josh Hawley secured the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and will face off against two-term incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in the November 6, 2018 general election.
  • Hawley defeated 10 opponents to secure the Republican nomination with a majority of reported ballots.
  • Missouri is not slated to hold AG elections until 2020, and Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, would appoint a replacement to fill the vacant AG position if Hawley were to defeat McCaskill in the general election.

Bipartisan Coalition of 18 Attorneys General Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Uphold Exhaustion of State Court Remedies Rule in Unconstitutional Takings Cases

  • A bipartisan coalition of 18 AGs filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Knick v. Scott Township, No. 17-647, urging the Court to affirm the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s dismissal of a Pennsylvania property owner’s challenge to a Supreme Court doctrine that requires property owners to pursue all available state-court remedies before bringing federal claims based on the allegedly unconstitutional taking of property by the government.
  • In their brief, the AGs argue that the challenged doctrine, commonly known as the “Williamson County rule” for the Supreme Court case where the rule was articulated, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), properly respects state sovereignty by preventing states and their subdivisions from being forced to defend federal lawsuits where an alleged constitutional violation has yet to occur.
  • The AGs argue that the Supreme Court should affirm the Third Circuit’s application of the Williamson County rule and its holding that the property owner’s claims were not ripe due to her failure to exhaust state-court remedies.
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