The Michigan Chamber of Commerce today issued the following statement in response to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s nationwide search for outside legal counsel to pursue lawsuits against companies that manufacture opioid medications and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“Attorney General Nessel’s call for assistance from law firms around the country that specialize in pursuing cases against opioid and PFAS distributors and manufacturers reminds us all that extra caution must be taken when selecting firms and attorneys to represent the state on a contingency fee basis,” said Jim Holcomb, Executive Vice President & General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber.
“Unknown to the general public, attorneys operating under a contingency fee contract receive most of the settlement to pay for inflated legal fees, thus leaving incentives for them to pursue even larger settlements and more severe court decisions,” noted Holcomb. “In order to avoid this, we urge the Attorney General to follow the best practices that have been codified in 22 other states, ensuring that the arrangement is in the public interest, transparent and open to competitive bidding and includes reasonable limitations on fees that private counsel may recover.”
“Using Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting (TiPAC) legislation as a model, any contract the Attorney General’s office enters into should provide for common sense transparency and accountability through legislative oversight,” said Wendy Block, Vice President of Business Advocacy for the Michigan Chamber. “Doing so will ensure that any cases pursued by Attorney General Nessel’s office are in the best interest of the taxpayers of Michigan and that any attorneys representing the state are doing so first and foremost for the public good.”