The State AG Report Weekly Update August 16, 2018

2018 AG Elections

Republican Candidate for Delaware Attorney General Drops Out of Race

  • Peggy Marshall Thomas, the lone Republican candidate for Delaware AG, has dropped out of the race.
  • Although the July 10, 2018 candidate filing deadline has passed, the Republican party may nominate a different candidate to replace Thomas contingent on Thomas formally requesting that her name be removed from the ballot.
  • Democratic candidates Kathy Jennings, Chris Johnson, Tim Mullaney Sr., and LaKresha Roberts are vying for the party’s nomination in the September 6, 2018 primary election.
  • As previously reported, incumbent AG Matt Denn, a Democrat, announced that he will not seek re-election to a second term.

Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin Hold Primary Elections

  • Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin held primary elections on August 14, 2018, and will hold general elections on November 6, 2018.
  • In Connecticut, state Representative William Tong won the Democratic primary, and Susan Hatfield won the Republican primary for AG.
  • In Minnesota, S. Representative Keith Ellison won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (“DFL”) primary for AG, and Doug Wardlow won the Republican primary for AG.
  • In Vermont, Democratic incumbent AG T.J. Donovan and Republican Brooke Paige ran unopposed and will be their respective parties’ nominees for AG.
  • In Wisconsin, Republican incumbent AG Brad Schimel, Democrat Josh Kaul, and Constitution Party candidate Terry Larson ran unopposed and will be their respective parties’ nominees for AG.

Antitrust

Five Attorneys General Submit Comments Opposing Terms of Seed Companies’ Merger

  • A coalition of five AGs, led by California AG Xavier Becerra, submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in opposition to Bayer AG’s $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto Company (“Monsanto”).
  • According to the comments, submitted in response to the Proposed Final Judgment (“PFJ”) in United States v. Bayer AG, Monsanto Company, and BASF SE, Case 1:18-cv-01241 (D.C. Cir. May 29, 2018), the deal will make Bayer the largest seed company in the world, further contracting a “highly consolidated market,” inhibiting innovation, and risking the creation of a monopoly for certain types of seeds, among other things.
  • The AGs request that the PFJ be revised to, among other things, prevent Bayer AG and Monsanto from reacquiring divestiture assets for ten years, require Bayer and Monsanto to notify federal enforcers about new acquisitions for ten years, require a monitoring trustee, and grant the Court jurisdiction for the full period of the Final Judgment.

Consumer Protection

Georgia Attorney General Settles with Title Pawn Company Over Allegedly Unlawful Practices

  • Georgia AG Chris Carr reached a settlement with title pawn company Complete Cash Holdings LLC and its owner Kent Popham (collectively, “Complete Cash”) over allegations that lawsuits filed by Complete Cash against consumers for outstanding debts violated the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act and the Georgia Pawn Shop Act.
  • According to the AG’s office, Complete Cash allegedly sued consumers that defaulted on their title pawn loans—short-term, high interest pawn transactions that use the clear title on a consumer’s vehicle as collateral—in violation of state laws that only allow a title pawn company to repossess the vehicle in the event of default.
  • According to the AG’s office, the terms of the settlement require Complete Cash to dismiss all pending lawsuits and other actions against consumers that are in violation of the law; refund all amounts obtained from consumer as a result of such legal actions; and pay $35,000 in penalties and fees to the State and an additional $35,000 if the company violates any settlement terms between now and December 1, 2020.

Pharmaceuticals

New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturer Over Alleged Misrepresentation of Prescription Opioid Risks

  • New York AG Barbara Underwood is the latest AG to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Purdue Frederick Company (collectively, “Purdue Pharma”) for allegedly engaging in deceptive and fraudulent business practices in violation of state law.
  • According to the complaint, Purdue Pharma allegedly misrepresented the risks of prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain and disseminated research and promulgated treatment guidelines intended to overstate the benefits and to downplay the risks of prescribing opioids, among other things. The complaint also alleges that Purdue Pharma’s continued deceptive marketing of its opioid products violates a 2015 Assurance of Voluntary Discontinuance entered into with the AG’s office to resolve specific marketing concerns.
  • The complaint seeks injunctive relief, payment for costs of abatement, disgorgement of amounts obtained in connection with alleged violations of law, civil penalties of $5,000 per violation, and restitution and damages to the state, among other things.

State AGs in the News

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor and Former Attorney General Loses Democratic Primary for U.S. House of Representatives

  • Hawaii Lieutenant Governor and former AG Doug Chin lost his bid to run as the Democratic candidate for an open U.S. House of Representatives seat.
  • Lieutenant Governor Chin was defeated in the August 11, 2018 primary by former Congressman Ed Case, who will face Republican Cam Cavasso in the November 6, 2018 general election.
  • As previously reported, then-AG Chin announced his intention to step down to campaign for the House seat before becoming Lieutenant Governor by succession in February 2018 upon former Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui’s resignation.

Minnesota Attorney General Loses Primary Bid for Governor

  • Minnesota AG Lori Swanson lost her bid for Governor in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (“DFL”) primary held August 14, 2018. AG Swanson was defeated by U.S. Representative Tim Walz.
  • As previously reported, AG Swanson withdrew from the AG race the day before the candidate filing deadline to enter the state’s open gubernatorial race.
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