What are the basic facts in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics?
Minneapolis mass tort and complex litigation attorney Carolyn Anderson discusses how state Attorney Generals can assert claims on behalf of their constituents.
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Okay, that case – the primary focus of it is a statute called the Class Action Fairness Act; it was enacted and when it was enacted Congress said this only applies to class actions. And the Attorneys General across the country said wait, it looks like this statute could be used against us in what’s called parens patriae, when an attorney general is acting as a sovereign on behalf of the state and the state’s interests. And they said it looks like this could be something that defendants someday will come up against us and say this applies to you, and Congress said, oh no, no, no, no, no, it’s so far not an AG issue or a state issue but – that we don’t need to say anything about that.
Well, the Attorneys General were right in being worried about that because in the AU Optronics case, the defendants said that this case didn’t belong in state court. We have a state attorney general suing under state laws in state court, and they said no, it belongs in federal court, and they said it was based upon this statute, which was called CAFA. And they said the basis was it was a mass action under CFA.
Well, through many courts we actually – in the first three years of the case, we never even had a court, we were in state court, we went to federal court, then we had to go to the Fifth Circuit, we had to go over to California and do some things and we’re back in Fifth Circuit up to the Supreme Court, back to the Fifth Circuit and then back to two different state courts. So in three years we had eight courts. But the result of it, we ended up having a 9-0 decision in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that said the Attorneys General were accurate, when an attorney general brings a case in its parens patriae capacity alleging state court counts, they get to have that case resolved in state court.
And it was a wonderful victory for the state of Mississippi, who – general who had brought that case, but also on behalf of all the AGs across the country. I mean we’ve had many of them say what an important win that was for them.