Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
June 14, 2018
Registration Deadline Approaching
Arizona Attorney General and CWAG Chair Mark Brnovich, and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas invite you to the 2018 CWAG Annual Meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico this July 22 to 25, 2018. Join your colleagues as CWAG explores the most pertinent legal issues during the days and spend the evenings enjoying the land of enchantment at our special events. The meeting website includes travel and hotel information to facilitate air and hotel arrangements, speaker details, CLE information and much more.

Registration is now open, and we encourage you to register now to secure your spot before the conference sells out.
  • Early Bird Registration is closed.
  • Final Registration Deadline: *Monday, July 9, 2018, at 5:00 pm Pacific time. No registrations will be accepted after this time. *Registration is likely to close earlier as the meeting is quickly reaching capacity.
  • No On-Site Registration.

The CWAG host hotel Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa is sold out on Tuesday and Wednesday July 24 and 25. If you have been unable to secure a room, the nearest hotel is the Santa Ana Star Casino hotel.
Hot Topics On The Agenda At The 2018 CWAG Annual Meeting
Check out the latest articles on topics that will be addressed during the Annual Meeting in New Mexico!

Federal Court Agrees With Utah, Grants Preliminary Injunction On Waters Of The US Rule
Court Finds that WOTUS Rule Likely Violates Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution    
June 12, 2018

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced that a U.S. District Court granted the Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Utah and ten other states, and blocked implementation of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in those jurisdictions. 

The lawsuit, filed against the administrators of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June 2015, challenged those agencies’ definition of WOTUS in the 2015 rule. In the controversial definition, “navigable waters” under federal control included traditionally state-regulated and smaller bodies of water, including roadside ditches, small ponds on farms, water features on golf courses, storm-water systems, and other small waterways like streams and wetlands. The coalition of states argued that this definition violated the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as the Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In its order issued Friday evening, the U.S. District Court agreed that if the WOTUS Rule became effective, the States would suffer irreparable harm through both “a loss of sovereignty and unrecoverable monetary losses.” The court concluded that blocking the WOTUS Rule also favors the public interest because it saves farmers, homeowners, and small businesses from having to “devote time and expense to obtain federal permits … to comply with a rule that is likely to be invalidated.” 
Culverts Case Decided; Washington AG Bob Ferguson Commented
June 11, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in the culverts case, which means the lower court decision will remain in place. That ruling forces the state to pay 100 percent of the cost of replacing barrier culverts, even though the federal government provided the design for those culverts, and regardless of whether other barrier culverts block salmon from getting to the state culverts. Attorney General Bob Ferguson offers the following statement:
“This ruling brings a resolution to a case that has gone on for nearly 20 years, defended by multiple attorneys general. It is unfortunate that Washington state taxpayers will be shouldering all the responsibility for the federal government’s faulty culvert design. The Legislature has a big responsibility in front of it to ensure the state meets its obligation under the court’s ruling. It’s also time for others to step up in order to make this a positive, meaningful ruling for salmon. Salmon cannot reach many state culverts because they are blocked by culverts owned by others. For example, King County alone owns several thousand more culverts than are contained in the entire state highway system. The federal government owns even more than that in Washington state. These culverts will continue to block salmon from reaching the state’s culverts, regardless of the condition of the state’s culverts, unless those owners begin the work the state started in 1990 to replace barriers to fish. 
Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma
Attorney General Maura Healey announced a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, maker and marketer of prescription opioids, after an investigation showed over 670 Massachusetts residents have died from their drugs.
June 12, 2018

Attorney General Maura T. Healey sued OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma on Tuesday, alleging the company and its executives knowingly engaged in a “unconscionable” scheme to mislead doctors and consumers about the deadly dangers of its opioids.

She asserts that the privately held company and 16 of its key directors and executives actively obfuscated the truth about opioid use, downplaying the perils of addiction and overdoses with the aim of getting more people to take them at higher doses for longer periods of time in order to boost the business’s bottom line.

While several other state attorneys general have taken similar legal action against Purdue, Healey’s action Tuesday opens a new front in the battle against the scourge of overdoses in Massachusetts. And the suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, hints the state could be seeking damages to the tune of billions of dollars.

An investigation by Healey’s office found that since 2009, 671 people who filled prescriptions for Purdue opioids in Massachusetts subsequently died of an opioid-related overdose, the legal complaint says.
Why U.S. Prime-Age Workforce Participation Is Lagging Behind Other Nations
Use of opioid drugs ‘appears to be connected’ to labor market conditions, research shows
June 6, 2018

The U.S. share of people in their prime working years who have or are seeking a job lags the rates of other developed countries, and Americans’ comparatively high rate of opioid drug use appears to be a factor, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Wednesday in its annual report on the U.S. economy.

Opioid prescription rates are generally higher where overall labor-force participation rates are lower, it notes.

These areas also tend to be places where disability rates are high, it says, pointing to a possible connection between drug use and disability.
Attorney General Becerra Announces $37.5 Million in State Grants to Combat Illegal Tobacco Use Among Minors
71 local government agencies awarded grants to reduce illegal sales of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors and youth
June 12, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced $37.5 million in state grant funding to combat the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors. The grants to 71 local entities throughout the state will fund operations, retailer training programs, the installation of signage, youth outreach, tobacco retail license inspections, training for sworn personnel, and other activities.

Proposition 56 (Prop. 56), the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, was approved by voters in November 2016. Effective April 2017, it raised the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, with an equivalent increase on other tobacco products. Prop. 56 specifically allocates $30 million of revenue to be distributed annually by the California Department of Justice to local law enforcement agencies for the support and hiring of peace officers for various activities, including investigations intended to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.

This year’s Prop. 56 grant recipients will use the state dollars to fund different anti-smoking campaigns and projects including new training and educational materials for officers and tobacco sellers to reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to minors, and law enforcement operations targeted at retailers selling to minors.
32 Arrests Made by Cyber Crime Team During Operation Broken Heart
June 12, 2018

The Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made 32 arrests from March through May as part of a national operation identifying child sex offenders, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Operation Broken Heart, which was a three-month effort led by the United States Department of Justice, was conducted by all 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces in each state. It targeted suspects who produced, distributed, received, and possessed child pornography, engaged in online enticement for sexual purposes, engaged in sex trafficking of children, and traveled across state lines or to other countries and sexually abused children. In Mississippi, the ICAC task force opened 124 investigations, made 32 arrests, executed 67 search warrants, conducted 525 forensic exams of 14.8 TBs of data, trained 260 law enforcement officers, and spoke to 2,171 individuals on internet safety.

Nationally, Operation Broken Heart arrested more than 2,300 suspects and identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed sexual child abuse.
Attorney General Becerra Issues Cease and Desist Letters and Files Suit Over Dangerous Levels of Lead in Toddler Formula
June 7, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that he issued two cease and desist letters and has filed suit against two businesses that make and sell toddler formula, Nutraceutical Corp. and Graceleigh Inc., due to the discovery of dangerously elevated levels of lead in their toddler formulas. Testing conducted by the California Department of Justice on two products – Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme and Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula – revealed that these formulas cause lead exposure between 13 and 15 times the maximum allowable dose level under California law without an adequate Proposition 65 warning. Both formulas exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Provisional Total Tolerable Intake daily levels for children under six. 

In the lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra alleges that the two companies have violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Proposition 65, t he state law that requires clear and reasonable warnings prior to exposing individuals to harmful chemicals. Attorney General Becerra is joined in filing this lawsuit by the District Attorneys of: Alameda; Marin; Monterey; Napa; Orange; Santa Clara; Santa Cruz; Shasta; Solano; and Sonoma Counties. 

Late last week, Attorney General Becerra sent cease and desist letters to Nutraceutical Corp. and Graceleigh Inc. In response, both companies have voluntarily agreed to stop selling these contaminated products in California. Any parent who already has either toddler formula — Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme and Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula — in the home should take precaution.
AG Bondi Warns Against Consumer Fraud
June 8, 2018

"Scammers are always looking for new schemes to steal your money. They will even go as far as impersonating government officials or law enforcement. Recently we received complaints from consumers targeted by imposter scams—some involved scammers impersonating officials from my office.

"These scammers typically request a wire payment to stop some non-existent state action or they seek social security numbers or other personal information. One common imposter scam involves a caller claiming to be law enforcement. They target grandparents claiming a grandchild is in jail. The scammer then requests a money transfer or prepaid debit card as bail.

"If you receive one of these calls or an email seeking money claiming to be from my office, the IRS or some other government agency, do not respond. Instead call the agency directly.

"Here are a few other common types of imposter scams:
  • Charity Scams: Imposters pose as representatives of a legitimate charity or espouse a fictional charity in order to solicit funds.
  • Lottery Scams: Scammers claiming to be with the state lottery, other government agency or a private law firm call or email claiming you won the lottery and must make a payment to claim the price.
  • Utility Scams: Caller claims to represent a utility company and threatens to shut off utilities if a payment is not made immediately.
If you are a target of these or any other scam, please contact my office at or by calling (866) 9-NO-SCAM. Working together we can protect Florida’s consumers."
Nigerian Prince Scam Took $110K From Kansas Man; 10 Years Later, He's Getting It Back
June 11, 2018

A decade ago, Fred Haines was wandering the Wichita airport looking for a Nigerian man hauling two chests full of cash.

After an hour of waiting and asking around, he finally came to the realization that the $65 million Nigerian fortune he thought he was inheriting was not coming after all.

What is now coming, though, is the $110,000 he had been scammed out of, thanks to the work of the Kansas Attorney General's Office, who went beyond news releases and assertively pursued scam victims by s ending more than 25,000 letters to offer help in claiming refunds.
74 Arrested in Coordinated International Enforcement Operation Targeting Hundreds of Individuals in Business Email Compromise Schemes
42 Alleged Fraudsters Arrested in the United States
June 11, 2018

Federal authorities announced a significant coordinated effort to disrupt Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes that are designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens. Operation Wire Wire, a coordinated law enforcement effort by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, was conducted over a six month period, culminating in over two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 74 arrests in the United States and overseas, including 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland. The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.
Updated American Indian Law Deskbook Is Now Available
*Access may require subscription

The American Indian Law Deskbook  is a concise, direct, and easy-to-understand handbook on Indian law. Indian law is a dynamic, ever-evolving field of law that overlaps other areas of the law as tribes expand their economic and political reach in our society. As the chief legal officers of the states, the State Attorneys General offer a unique insight into Indian law. The states have been parties before the United States Supreme Court and the lower courts to many of the cases that have shaped Indian Law over the years. The chapter authors of this book are experienced state lawyers who have been involved in Indian law for many years.

American Indian Law Deskbook  addresses the areas of Indian law most relevant to the practitioner. Topics include:
  • Definitions of Indians and Indian tribes
  • Indian lands
  • Criminal, civil regulatory, and civil adjudicatory jurisdiction
  • Civil rights
  • Indian water rights
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Environmental regulation
  • Taxation
  • Gaming
  • Indian Child Welfare Act and tribal-state cooperative agreements
Follow the 31 AG Races in 2018 on this Interactive Website
A significant number of states, 30 and the District of Columbia, have contests for the Office of Attorney General. Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice hosts an interactive map for those interested in following the races throughout the country. The State AG Election Tracker includes state-by-state AG candidate snapshots, filing deadlines and primary election dates; daily news, insights, polling and fundraising data; and the ability to sign up for real-time election-night updates via text and email. Access is free.