Workshop: Regulation through Local Government Litigation: How Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Are Sidestepping Legislative Authority on Opioids, Climate Change, Data Privacy and More


Hear from state and local officials, legal practitioners and policy experts about the newest litigation trend. Enterprising plaintiffs’ attorneys are working to encourage city and county governments to allow them to sue on behalf of the locality, attempting to legislate from the bench while collecting sizable contingency fees. Many states have instituted reasonable legislative oversight when private lawyers represent the state in litigation; however, those protections aren’t often institutionalized in county and city governments. This ill-suited tactic, resting on shaky legal authority, is being used in an attempt to address broad public policy issues—including opioids, fossil fuel regulation, labor laws, privacy rights and more—through litigation rather than through the legislative or executive process. Join us to hear from a state legislator, a local official, a former state attorney general and a practitioner to get a better understanding of the problem of localities suing and what options might exist to combat these campaigns.