Intervention Granted for the State of Arkansas in Regional Haze CaseMon, Aug 24, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas has granted the State’s motion to intervene in the case, Sierra Club v. McCarthy. Arkansas sought to intervene because a Consent Decree proposed by the parties to the lawsuit would impose an arbitrary deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize a Federal Implementation Plan or approve a revised State Implementation Plan for regional haze.
“The EPA is ignoring what is best for Arkansas in order to satisfy the interests of the Sierra Club,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Sierra Club initially brought this lawsuit, which affects Arkansas ratepayers, in a California federal court. I am pleased that the court has granted our request to intervene so that this ‘sue and settle’ case can be stopped. I am prepared to fully litigate this case to protect Arkansas utility ratepayers from increased costs.”
In today’s order, Judge Leon Holmes wrote, “The State of Arkansas’s defense is thus based upon the fact that the statute is jointly administered by the State and the EPA as part of the ‘cooperative federalism’ mandated by the Clean Air Act. Neither Sierra Club nor the EPA argues to the contrary.”
On April 24, Rutledge filed comments on the proposed Consent Decree submitted by the parties in Sierra Club v. McCarthy. Rutledge argued that the arbitrary deadline set in the case would likely lead to a rule that requires billions of dollars in compliance costs for very limited improvement in visibility. Rutledge also believes that the Sierra Club lacks standing in the suit, which gave rise to the settlement. On July 11, Rutledge requested intervention in the case.
Rutledge and 48 Other State Attorneys General Reach $71 Million Settlement with AmgenMon, Aug 24, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she along with 48 other State Attorneys General have reached a $71 million settlement with Amgen Inc. to resolve allegations that Amgen unlawfully promoted biologic medications Aranesp and Enbrel. Under the terms of the Consent Judgment, Arkansas will receive $959,758.24 from the settlement. Aranesp is used to treat certain types of anemia by stimulating bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Enbrel is used to treat a number of conditions, including plaque psoriasis.
The State of Arkansas’s complaint alleges that Amgen violated state consumer protection laws by: (1) promoting Aranesp for dosing frequencies longer than the FDA approved label without competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the extended dosing frequencies; (2) promoting Aranesp for anemia caused by cancer without having FDA approval or competent and reliable scientific evidence to support it; and (3) promoting Enbrel for mild plaque psoriasis even though Enbrel is only approved by the FDA to treat chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
“Amgen violated Arkansas’s consumer protection laws by promoting the use of drugs without reliable scientific evidence or FDA approval,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Consumers who used the drugs at Amgen’s recommendation were put at a serious health risk. This agreement forces Amgen to adjust its marketing methods and holds the company accountable for its deceptive actions.”
Under the terms of the Consent Judgment, Amgen must reform its marketing and promotional practices and shall not:
- make, or cause to be made, any written or oral claim that is false, misleading, or deceptive in promoting Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp;
- represent that Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp has any sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities, or qualities that it does not have;
- use a compendium listing or publication to promote Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp for an Off-Label Use to a health care professional;
- allow Amgen Marketing and Amgen Sales to initiate interactions with a compendium or determine the content of any materials for submissions to a compendium relating to Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp; and
- submit a special supplement to a compendium to support an off-label use of Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp or use a third party to lobby a compendium on Amgen’s behalf without notifying the compendium that it is acting at Amgen’s request.
The other States participating in the settlement are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Rutledge Announces Speakers for Expanded Law Enforcement SummitFri, Aug 21, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the slate of speakers for the 13th annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be Oct. 6 and 7. The event, to be held at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, was established to offer free training and educational opportunities for Arkansas’s law enforcement community.
“The men and women who make up Arkansas’s law enforcement community are dedicated public servants,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is a privilege for me to be able to host them at a Law Enforcement Summit, which will allow for collaboration, instruction and networking among our officers to help them better serve their communities. I am also excited to welcome several top-notch presenters to our State for this important event. I encourage all members of law enforcement to register, and I look forward to welcoming them to the Summit.”
Rutledge announced in late July that the Summit will be, for the first time in the event’s history, expanded to two days.
Tuesday, Oct. 6 will highlight the Attorney General’s law enforcement initiatives to include metal theft prevention and cybercrimes forensics. Additional presentations will include a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events instructor training and a session on law enforcement’s role in domestic violence.
The second day will feature nationally renowned presenters as well as the annual awards and recognition luncheon, which Rutledge will host.
Day two of the Summit will begin with Wichita Police Department Detective Tim Relph. Detective Relph was a lead investigator in the task force that arrested Dennis Rader, the man better known as the BTK killer, the serial killer who murdered 10 people in and around Wichita between 1974 and 1991. Relph will chronicle the timeline of events, tracking BTK’s history over three decades and will expound on the methods used to ultimately arrest Rader.
The day will continue with Capt. Ron Johnson, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Capt. Johnson was selected by Gov. Jay Nixon to coordinate law enforcement agencies amid the Ferguson Police response to protests following Michael Brown's death in 2014. After Johnson was appointed, highway patrol officers — wearing no SWAT gear — arrived in Ferguson less than a week after the shooting that prompted rioting. Cheers greeted Johnson when he told the crowd that he and his officers were "going to march with you."
The Summit will conclude with Lt. Brian Murphy, of the Oak Creek Police Department in Wisconsin. Lt. Murphy was the first officer on the scene on Aug. 5, 2012, after Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others at a Sikh temple. Page shot Murphy 15 times at close range. Remarkably, Murphy was discharged from the hospital less than three weeks later and eventually returned to full duty. He recently retired and was awarded the Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden in February.
Registration for the Law Enforcement Summit is open and can be accessed at ArkansasAG.gov.
Joint Federal-State Partnership Launches to Fight Disability FraudTue, Aug 18, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today launched the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigations Program, or CDI, to fight Social Security disability fraud across the state. CDI is a joint effort among federal and state agencies to effectively pool resources for the purpose of preventing fraud in the disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and in related programs.
Rutledge was joined by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, State Sen. Missy Irvin and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Feldt at the announcement.
“Arkansas ranks in the top five among states with the highest number of Social Security Disability beneficiaries,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Fraud hurts Arkansans in need and we have to stop those who are cheating and scamming the system. When I took office, I made a commitment to protect consumers. Stopping disability fraud protects all Arkansans.”
“I applaud Attorney General Rutledge and her commitment to fighting disability fraud in Arkansas,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “It is critical that we can ensure the integrity of the Social Security programs. As a result of this state and federal partnership, Arkansas can protect this important program and combat fraud. I look forward to creating greater efficiencies through this statewide initiative and better serving beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability program in Arkansas.”
“Social Security Disability is a critically important program for the disabled and needs to be preserved for those who truly deserve it,” said State Sen. Missy Irvin. “The program is estimated to have a deficiency in funds to claimants as soon as 2016. With Arkansas having the 5th highest percentage of its population in the nation on Social Security, we must take steps now to secure the future of this program for those who truly need it, eliminate those who are abusing it and be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars.”
“In our continuing effort to stamp out waste, fraud, and abuse within Social Security programs, the Office of the Inspector General is pleased to partner with the Arkansas Attorney General's Office on the Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit in Little Rock,” said Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Feldt.
Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigations Program Background
- The Cooperative Disability Investigations Program, or CDI, is a joint effort among federal and state agencies to effectively pool resources for the purpose of preventing fraud in the disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and in related programs.
- The mission is to investigate questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers and other third parties to obtain evidence of material fact sufficient to resolve questions of potential fraud in disability programs.
- The Arkansas CDI will be run jointly by the SSA Dallas Regional Office, the SSA Office of the Inspector General, the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and the Arkansas Disability Determination for SSA.
- CDI benefits SSA and taxpayers by improving the integrity of Social Security’s programs, promoting the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds and by helping public assistance programs reduce fraud, waste and abuse.
- Since its inception in Fiscal Year 1998, existing CDI Units in other states have contributed to $3.1 billion in projected savings to SSA’s disability programs and $1.9 billion in projected savings to non-SSA programs – including state-funded programs such as Medicaid.
- SSA will pay for the Arkansas CDI participant salaries, benefits and vehicles.
- The Arkansas CDI Unit will be located in the Little Rock, Arkansas, Federal Building.
- The Arkansas CDI Unit will consist of these individuals:
- One SSA Inspector General, Special Agent/Team Leader
- One SSA CDI Program Specialist
- One Arkansas Disability Determination for SSA Specialist
- Two Arkansas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Special Agents (law enforcement)
- One Arkansas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Investigative Assistant
- The Unit will work to evaluate and investigate suspicious claims, identify lawyers, doctors or other third parties who facilitate fraud, identify areas susceptible to fraud and provide investigative findings that help SSA and state personnel make accurate and timely claims decisions.
- The Unit’s findings may also result in criminal or civil prosecution, civil monetary penalties of up to $5,000 for each false statement made and SSA administrative sanctions, including benefit withholding.
- The Program currently consists of 28 Units covering 24 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – nine of those units have Attorneys General as a participating agency.
Rutledge Announces Medicaid Fraud Arrest of Craighead County ManMon, Aug 17, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a Craighead County man by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Emmitt Paul Milam, 45, of Jonesboro was arrested on one count of Medicaid fraud. Milam was booked into the Pulaski County Jail where he posted bond and was released. He is accused of billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program more than $55,000 for services that were not rendered, a Class B felony.
Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled.
Rutledge Joins with 14 Other States Asking Court to Stay the EPA’s Clean Power PlanFri, Aug 14, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has joined a coalition of 15 State Attorneys General in asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to issue an emergency stay that would postpone deadlines imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan while the plan’s legality is determined by the courts.
“Because of the deadlines and obligations included in the Clean Power Plan, Arkansas must begin to use money and resources to attempt to become compliant despite the rule having not been published in the Federal Register,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas should not have to move forward with the burdensome and costly regulations of the Clean Power Plan until the legality of the rule is determined. Unfortunately, the EPA has not published the rule yet preventing Arkansas and other States from challenging the rule on the merits. I’m confident the legal challenge will show the EPA has gone far beyond the scope intended by the Clean Air Act.”
Typically, a stay of a federal rule would not be sought until the lawsuit challenging it is filed, which would usually occur once the rule is published in the Federal Register. In most cases, the obligations imposed by a new rule are tied to the date of publication.
However, in this case, the Attorneys General argue, the EPA has made the unusual choice to make the States’ obligations effective immediately. Regardless of the date of formal publication, the States already have firm deadlines to submit initial and final compliance plans under the rule. Because it could be months before the 1,560-page rule is published, the Attorneys General believe court precedent makes clear that a request for a stay at this time is appropriate in order to prevent States from having to expend significant taxpayer resources to begin complying with the rule.
Earlier this month, Rutledge asked the EPA for an administrative stay of the Clean Power Plan while its legality was reviewed by the courts. The EPA responded saying it would take the request “under consideration,” but the agency has yet to act on that request.
Rutledge was joined in petition by the States of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
A copy of the petition is available here.