Shook Partner Victor
Schwartz has co-authored a Law360 article with
Markus Green, assistant general counsel at Pfizer, that explains
how locality lawsuits—in which municipalities and counties
bring lawsuits alleging damages from companies on issues that
affect the state as a whole—are against the public
"[State] attorneys general understand that allowing local governments, which do not represent the state, to bring litigation that affects the entire state and its people can have major adverse consequences," Schwartz and Green explain. "Instead of a state attorney general suing for relief on a statewide basis, local governments that bring lawsuits stand to benefit over those that do not sue, creating an incentive for every local government to sue and not miss out on a possible recovery."
"Locality lawsuits provide private contingency fee lawyers with a new way to bring litigation on the public's behalf without any of the restrictions put in place at the federal or state level," the authors note. "In this regard, locality litigation resembles a vast and untapped Wild West, in which greater numbers of private contingency fee lawyers may potentially partner with local governments to wage civil litigation."