On March 19, 2014, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against All Credit Lenders, a Chicago-area short-term lender, claiming that the lender evaded Illinois’ 36 percent interest-rate cap. It's not unusual to see state attorneys general go after a rogue lender of this manner, but Madigan's suit was different than previous AG forays—it invoked the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act, using Dodd-Frank to file a civil suit for unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices. At the time, it was the first state suit separate from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
As this case shows, many state attorneys general are beginning to expand their views into completely new territories. Some of these areas reflect inquiries made by federal agencies, while others represent a direct response to local concerns.
Patents, not labels
Patent litigation is another key area where state AG awareness has already started to rise, and it will likely continue to do so in the next several years.
Working with the AG
Michael D. Ricciuti, a partner with K&L Gates who has worked with many state AG offices, says that thorough and specialized preparation should be every in-house lawyer's first task.