Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton is the lawyer for the State of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to:
- defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas
- represent the State in litigation
- approve public bond issues
To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes.
The Texas AG sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.
Many Texans look to the Office of the Attorney General for guidance with disputes and legal issues. The agency receives hundreds of letters, phone calls and visits each week about crime victims’ compensation, child support, abuse in nursing homes, possible consumer fraud and other topics.
To find out more about the Texas Attorney General, visit the official website at https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/.
Rusk County Conducts Child Support Roundup; 11 Arrested for Failure to Pay Child Support
AUSTIN – Rusk County Sheriff’s Department and Henderson Police Department led a child support roundup that started on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
They arrested 11 Rusk County parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. The sweep was conducted in conjunction with the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division.
Delinquent parents arrested on civil warrants face up to six months in jail. Cash bonds posted by delinquent parents seeking release from jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.
“Caring for your children is a fundamental and moral responsibility of any parent,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “I commend everyone involved in holding accountable those who attempt to evade child support. This coordinated effort helps ensure better care and better lives for Texas children.”
The Rusk County Sheriff’s Department and Henderson Police Department worked diligently to track down those who were wanted for contempt of court because they failed to pay child support.
These departments dispatched a total of six teams of law enforcement officers to locate and arrest the noncompliant parents.
Child Support Division investigators assisted in the effort by providing logistical assistance and helping to locate missing parents.
Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments – but are not subject to warrants for their arrest – should immediately contact the Attorney General’s Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014 to make payment arrangements.
AG Paxton: Settlement Agreement Against Tobacco Companies Must Be Enforced
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a ruling from the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, holding that a 1998 comprehensive settlement agreement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other tobacco companies stands and the agreed payments to the state for smoking-related healthcare costs must be enforced.
The court rejected Reynolds’s argument that selling acquired brands included in the settlement nullified its obligation to Texas taxpayers, declaring that “Reynolds remains as liable today as it was when it entered into the Texas Settlement in 1998.”
In 2015, ITG Brands LLC acquired three cigarette brands from Reynolds and one cigarette brand from Lorillard Tobacco Company—Kool, Maverick, Salem, and Winston.
Both Reynolds and Lorillard signed the comprehensive settlement agreement with Texas over smoking-related healthcare costs.
Since this sale, the required payments to Texas under the settlement agreement for those brands have not been made.
This ruling prevents the tobacco companies from depriving Texas of hundreds of millions of dollars in past and future amounts owed under the settlement.
Reynolds is obligated to pay Texas for sales of these cigarettes in perpetuity and for significant amounts that are already past due.
“I applaud the court for holding tobacco companies accountable to the terms of the settlement to which they agreed. Texas taxpayers are owed substantial back payments and we will not allow any company to shirk their obligations to the people of this state,” said Attorney General Paxton. “No matter how large the company or how long the fight, my office will continue to fight for the compensation that taxpayers are owed.”
Read a copy of the ruling here.
AG Paxton Co-Leads Letter Opposing Exorbitant Attorneys’ Fees Request by Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Opioid Litigation
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton Wednesday co-led a bipartisan coalition of 36 states in filing an amicus letter, arguing that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio should reject a request by a few plaintiffs’ lawyers to get paid a disproportionate amount of attorneys’ fees in the opioid litigation that will result in a reduction of funds available to provide treatment and relief to victims of the opioid crisis.
In addition to raising federalism and jurisdictional concerns, the letter from attorneys general states that it would be unconscionable and inequitable for the district court to approve a common benefit fund that only increased attorneys’ fees.
The letter goes on to argue that this type of proposed tax on the entire settlement would result in less relief for suffering communities and disrupt the substantial progress states have made in negotiating a large national settlement.
“Attorneys General across the country have worked collaboratively to secure maximum relief for the individuals and families devastated by the opioid crisis. The abatement fund we developed would provide much needed services to victims of this epidemic. These resources are needed now—not at the end of a lengthy litigation process,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Texas filed suit in a Texas court, and a federal judge in Cleveland should not be holding back the money we intend to use to treat our citizens. Imposing a fee on all proceeds put into this fund solely for the benefit of a few attorneys would undermine federalism and dismantle the careful framework we created to ensure that victims of this epidemic receive the help they need and deserve.”
The recent proposal from the plaintiffs’ lawyers would impose a seven percent fee on recoveries that were made possible by the States’ lawsuits and the strength of States’ legal claims, which are not within the jurisdiction of the court.
The order could also prevent cash-poor companies from producing and providing free addiction treatment medication to victims of the opioid crisis.
AG Paxton Applauds $1.6 Billion Global Settlement with Opioid Manufacturer
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton Monday announced a global settlement framework agreement between state attorneys general, local subdivisions, and Mallinckrodt (MNK), its subsidiaries, and certain other affiliates. MNK is currently the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States.
In the agreement, MNK agrees to pay $1.6 billion in cash to a trust that will cover the costs of opioid addiction treatment and related efforts, with the potential for increased payment to the trust.
MNK also agrees that its future generics opioid business will be subject to stringent injunctive relief that, among other things, will prevent marketing and ensure systems are in place to prevent diversion.
Opioids are a family of drugs including prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. Nationwide, prescription and illegal opioids are the main cause of drug overdose deaths.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017. From 1999 to 2017, more than 702,000 people have died from a drug overdose.
“This agreement with MNK is just one example of the timely solutions needed in our fight against the opioid epidemic. My office has been aggressively working to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their deceptive marketing of highly-addictive pain pills, which spurred an epidemic and left victims and families with unimaginable consequences,” said Attorney General Paxton. “My focus is on not only accountability but also obtaining the resources we need to get victims of this epidemic the help they deserve. This agreement is a significant step in the right direction, and my office will continue to do everything it can to protect Texans and help our state heal from this life-destroying crisis.”
In 2017, Attorney General Paxton and a bipartisan coalition of 40 states served investigative subpoenas on eight companies that manufacture or distribute highly addictive painkillers.
Since then, Attorney General Paxton also initiated lawsuits against both Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson for misleading marketing and sale of opioids.
AG Paxton Announces Bipartisan, Multistate Investigation into JUUL’s Marketing Practices
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton Tuesday announced that his office is leading a bipartisan, 39-state investigation into JUUL Labs, which manufactures and markets e-cigarettes.
The multistate coalition of state attorneys general, led by Texas, launched the investigation in response to evidence that JUUL Labs misrepresented the health risks associated with its products and promoted them to children who are not of legal age to purchase tobacco products.
The multistate investigation focuses on JUUL’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting underage users, claims about the nicotine content of its products, and statements regarding the risks, safety, and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.
“I am pleased to be working alongside other states to determine whether any of JUUL’s statements or business practices mislead or otherwise harmed consumers,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Protecting Texans from deceptive business practices is a high priority for my office, and I am committed to holding companies accountable for the quality, effects, and marketing of their products.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control found that over five million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, and almost one million used an e-cigarette daily.
In December 2019, President Trump signed legislation to raise the federal minimum age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 years.
AG Paxton Leads 42 States in Support of the Bankruptcy Venue Reform Act
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton led a letter signed by 42 attorneys general in support of the Bankruptcy Venue Reform Act of 2019.
The Act will prevent forum shopping during bankruptcy litigation, providing much -needed protection to consumers, workers, retirees, shareholders, and small business vendors who are currently harmed by the one-sided right for corporate debtors to choose whichever court they prefer.
“It is imperative that we protect our citizens by affording them fair trails and accessible venues,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Some scrupulous corporations have gotten away with manipulating bankruptcy cases in their favor by filing in districts specifically chosen to benefit themselves. It is time to even the playing field and end the practice of corporate venue shopping.”
Currently, individuals can only file bankruptcy in their district of residence.
However, corporations reserve the right to file bankruptcy lawsuits in any district in which they are incorporated, have their principal place of business or assets, or in any district where an affiliate – no matter how small – has been filed.
This leaves corporations with a wide choice of possible venues, which can be manipulated to their advantage.