State attorneys general from 41 of the 50 states are investigating the opioid industry. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he is committed to “using every tool at our disposal” to pursue the $500 billion Big Pharma industry, and has unleashed Martin Act subpoenas upon numerous opioid manufacturers and distributors. The press release put out by the Attorney General of Connecticut, George Jepsen, urges haste:
We recognize that time is our enemy and that we should pursue all means to ease this crisis as quickly as possible. For that reason, we have encouraged and will continue to encourage the pharmaceutical industry – both manufacturers and distributors – to engage constructively with the attorneys general towards meaningful agreements that may be achievable sooner than full-scale investigations and litigation may permit. As we have shown in other contexts, broad coalitions of attorneys general can effectively impact national problems through litigation or settlements, often more effectively than they can when acting alone. Our collective efforts are particularly important at a time when many Americans despair about the capacity of government to function effectively in the face of challenges. (Emphasis added)
Connecticut AG Jepson’s announcement of the meteoric rise in the number of states joining in the investigations, his jab at legislative passivity while flexing that most unlawful of state powers—namely, regulation by litigation—and the anything-but-subtle suggestion of a fast settlement bodes ill for the rule of law.
The great public service of the law-and-economics movement has been to expose the collateral consequences of policymakers’ actions. In Getting Incentives Right: Improving Torts, Contracts, and Restitution, law-and-economics scholars Robert D. Cooter and Ariel Porat, law professors at the UC Berkeley School of Law and Tel Aviv University, consolidate and complement their past work in a volume of related essays. The work offers improvements to three areas of law dealing with the conveyance of benefits (if all goes well) or infliction of harm (as often happens when the law interferes with voluntary interactions) between parties. The authors relentlessly pursue a version…
Civil law in the United States, originally intended to right wrongs and discourage people from committing them in the first place, has long since become an extortion racket that makes the methods of Al Capone seem amateurish by comparison.