Multistate Litigation Database

Attorney General Multistate Lawsuits & Settlements Database, 1980-2013 (Excel)
When citing the above lawsuits and settlements data, please use the following citation:
Nolette, Paul. 2015. Federalism on Trial: State Attorneys General and National Policymaking in Contemporary America. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Figure 1: Number of AG Multistate Cases by Subject Area, 1980 to 2013

Data Sources
The main resource used for compiling this database was the Lexis-Nexis “United States News Verdicts, Settlements & Decisions” database. This database contains news reports concerning decisions and out-of-court settlements from a large number of US newspapers, magazines, and wire services. My search of this database began by first adding “attorneys general” as an index term. I then used the following search string in all my searches of each year from 1980 to 2013: [(attorney! pre/2 general!) and (litigation or “settlement & compromise” or “suits & claims” or verdicts or “decisions & rulings” or “consent decrees & orders” or investigations)]. I proceeded to examine the search results for all sources relevant to AG settlements, judgments, and other litigation.

The resolution of AG litigation during this period typically had multiple news reports associated with each case, so I was able to find most multistate settlements and judgments using this Lexis-Nexis search. However, I supplemented this resource with a search of a number of publications issued by the National Association of Attorneys General, including AG Bulletin, Consumer Protection Report, Antitrust Report, Telemarketing Fraud Bulletin, Medicaid Fraud Report, and the NAAG National Environmental Enforcement Journal. In addition to these sources, NAAG’s Antitrust Multistate Litigation Database proved to be an invaluable source for identifying multistate antitrust litigation. The Environmental Protection Agency’s collection of consent decrees (list of civil cases and settlements) also provided information concerning multistate environmental settlements with private industry.

To be included in the dataset, the case had to:

  1. involve “litigation,” broadly defined as including both filed lawsuits or pre-litigation investigations;
  2. involve coordinated activities by at least two AGs;
  3. share the same defendants and at least one common issue of fact; and
  4. conclude in a judicial decision, an out-of court settlement, or another similar agreement.

Category Descriptions

Case #: Number assigned to case, from earliest to most recent case.
Focus: Temp
Year: Year in which case was resolved.
Date Resolved: Approximate date on which case was resolved.
Case Type (General): All multistate cases are assigned one of four general categories: Consumer Protection, Antitrust, Health Care, or Environmental.
Case Type (Specific): All multistate cases are assigned one of several specific categories, based upon the primary focus of the lawsuit or settlement. Most of these specific categories were developed by the author following review of each case. The specific categories for antitrust cases came largely from NAAG’s Antitrust Multistate Litigation Database.
Litigation Campaign: If the case was part of a larger enforcement action involving similar cases or lawsuits, the broader campaign of which the case was a part is listed here.
Target: Specifies whether the defendant(s) involved in the lawsuit or investigation were Industry or Government.
# of AGs: Total number of AGs involved in the lawsuit or final settlement.
Description: Provides a brief description of the issues involved in the settlement or lawsuit, taken mainly from news reports and press releases.
Settlement Terms or Court Holding: Provides a brief description of the resolution of the settlement or lawsuit, taken mainly from news reports and press releases.
Defendant 1-4: Lists the defendants involved in the lawsuit or settlement.
Business Type: List the business type of the defendant(s) involved in the case, derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code listed for the entity.
Related 4 and 6 Digit NAICS Codes: List the 4-digit and 6-digit NAICS codes for the defendant involved in the case.
HQ (Def1 and Def2): Lists the headquarters of the defendant (state or foreign) at the time of the resolution of the case.
Case Name: Provides the case name, if applicable.
Citation: Provides the case citation, if applicable.
Final Action: Lists the final action in the case. Most cases are classified as settlements or as the court action involved (e.g. affirmed, denied, etc.). “Agreements” are typically non-binding understandings between industry members and multistate AG investigators made without accompanying court orders.
Federal Involvement: Lists federal agencies involved in the case, typically the federal Department of Justice (DOJ). If the multistate litigation targets the government “Opposition” is listed here.
State Opposition: Lists any states that opposed other states in the case via litigation filings.
Total Settlement $ Amount: Provides the total settlement amount, if applicable. Note that the settlement amounts may have changed after the initial resolution of a case.
Total State Recovery: Provides the total settlement amount allocated to states (as opposed to any federal recoveries or other expenditures).
Inflation Multiplier (2014): Lists the inflation multiplier to adjust settlement totals into 2014 dollars, taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s CPI Inflation Calculator.
Adjusted Total Settlement Amount (2014 Dollars): Provides the total settlement amount, adjusted for inflation.
Adjusted State Recovery (2014 Dollars): Provides the total settlement amount allocated to states, adjusted for inflation.
Lead State(s): Lists the states leading the multistate lawsuit or settlement. The information is available for approximately two-thirds of the cases in the database.
Participating State(s): Lists the states participating in the multistate lawsuit or settlement. The information is available for approximately 96% of the cases in the database.

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