How approaches in state attorney general actions differ from typical litigation

February 8, 2023 – Companies generally try to avoid public litigation against a state attorney general at all costs, as it can be catastrophic. (“Developing a strategy for settling multistate AG investigations,” Reuters Legal News, Nov. 10, 2022) In those instances where a confidential regulatory investigation precipitated the filing of a complaint, the state attorney general’s lawsuit makes public the previously unknown regulatory investigation.

That, in turn, usually prompts negative press, customer or consumer inquiries, regulatory scrutiny from other states or federal agencies, and — depending on the focus — consumer class actions by the plaintiffs’ bar. It can also torpedo pending business opportunities, harm employee recruitment efforts, cause a loss of goodwill in the marketplace, drag down company valuations, and potentially trigger a shareholder derivative lawsuit in the case of publicly traded companies.

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Yet, increasingly in recent years, targeted companies have had no choice but to reject the onerous settlement terms demanded by a state attorney general, whether it be because the company cannot afford to pay the stiff monetary demand embedded in the settlement offer or because the injunctive relief terms would cripple the challenged business practice in such a manner that the business unit could not remain viable. When faced with such draconian realities, a company may have no choice but to dig in and prepare for battle.

A common mistake, however, that many companies and their outside counsel make is that they only arm themselves with the same tactics they employ for typical litigation against the plaintiffs’ bar or commercial competitors. They will rely on their tried-and-true strategies for responding to the complaint, such as engaging in motions practice under Rule 12(b), managing discovery, attempting to mediate the case, filing a motion for summary judgment, challenging opposing experts, and eventually

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Palm Beach Post wants Lynn Aronberg records unsealed in Glenn Straub case

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg in September 2017.

When Lynn Aronberg was quizzed by attorneys representing wealthy Wellington developer Glenn Straub, questions quickly veered to her short-lived marriage to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

Incensed at the turn Lynn Aronberg’s deposition was taking, prosecutors abruptly ended it and later successfully petitioned a judge to keep her sworn statements from becoming public.

Last week, attorneys representing The Palm Beach Post and The Miami Herald went to court to lift the unusual restriction and others that prevent the public from learning the details of the salacious and potentially far-reaching case.

State Attorney Dave Aronberg is a TV news pundit. Is he serving Palm Beach County or himself?

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Claiming that Lynn Aronberg’s testimony, along with that of her powerful ex-husband, could shed light on how the county’s top law-enforcement officer does his job, they asked the judge to reverse course.

“To the extent the testimony of either witness potentially implicates Mr. Aronberg’s job duties or actions that reflect on his suitability to be a State Attorney, transparency is of utmost public importance,” newspaper attorneys Dana McElroy and Mark Caramanica wrote.

They claim Broward County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Bailey didn’t take the proper steps before ordering that Lynn Aronberg’s deposition remain off-limits to the public. They also claim Bailey failed to justify why he found it necessary to impose a gag order, preventing defense attorneys, prosecutors and others from talking about the case.

Rancor marks exchanges between lawyers for Straub, Aronberg

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, his then-future wife Lynn Lewis, Lorenzo Borghese, Jessica Nicodemo and Glenn Straub at a 2015 charity event at Palm Beach Polo for Nicodemo's pet rescue group.

Typically, such requests are made by defense lawyers who don’t want pre-trial publicity to rob their clients of fair trials. In Straub’s case, however, the restrictions were requested by

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