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Decision on the Legality of Executions

Rutledge Comments on Arkansas Supreme Court’s Decision on the Legality of Executions

Thu, Jun 23, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court on the legality of Arkansas’s method of execution and the state's associated confidentiality provisions.

“Today's decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court reversing the decision from Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen once again shows that Arkansas’s method of execution by lethal injection is lawful,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It also upholds important confidentiality provisions passed by the General Assembly to protect drug manufacturers and suppliers from intimidation and harassment. As to the state’s next steps, I will notify the Governor once the stays of executions have been lifted so that he may set execution dates. I know that victims’ families want to see justice carried out, and that is exactly what I will continue to work toward as Attorney General.”

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$400 Million in Apple E-Book Settlement Payouts

Rutledge: $400 Million in Apple E-Book Settlement Payouts to Begin

Tue, Jun 21, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said today that eligible Arkansans who have purchased electronic books (e-books) will begin receiving their share of Apple Inc.’s $400 million settlement payout, the result of a multistate e-books price-fixing case.

Arkansas and 32 other states filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for conspiring to artificially inflate e-book prices with five major publishers. The publishers – Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster – settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, which was mostly distributed to consumers in March 2014.

“Arkansans are entitled to an equitable and fair marketplace, but Apple violated that trust with this scheme,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “E-books have become popular in recent years, but when the costs are inflated to build the company’s profit, attorneys general have a duty to protect consumers. Actions like this will not be tolerated and companies like Apple will be held responsible for their corrupt actions.”

In July 2013, after Apple declined to settle with the states, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Apple had conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books in violation of state and federal competition laws.

Last June, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision, and in March, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s request for review, prompting the company’s obligation to pay the maximum consumer compensation.

$3.915 million will be returned to eligible Arkansans. The amounts received by e-book purchasers will be based on the number of e-books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. For each e-book that was a New York Times bestseller, consumers will receive $6.93. For all other e-books, the payment will be $1.57. Combined with the $166 million publisher settlements, consumer compensation from the e-books case totals $566 million, about twice the estimated actual damages to consumers.

Distribution of the consumer payments is expected to begin today. Arkansans who purchased e-books through Sony or Google will receive checks in the mail. Those who purchased e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo will automatically receive credits in their accounts (unless they previously requested to receive checks).

Consumers receiving account credits should expect to receive an email between June 21 and June 24, indicating that the credits are available in their accounts. Credits can be used to purchase any items sold by these retailers.

The settlement administrator has set up a website and toll-free phone number for consumers with questions about this distribution. Please visit ebooklawsuits.com or call (866) 686-9333 for more information. Arkansans can also contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Summer Law Clerks to Attorney General’s Office

Rutledge Welcomes Summer Law Clerks to Attorney General’s Office

Mon, Jun 20, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for Summer Session I to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trial, client meetings and hearings.

“It is a great service-learning opportunity to have this group of law students in our office this summer,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “They are gaining valuable experience from some of the State’s top attorneys, as well as being exposed to the public service sector. Law clerks are a valuable asset to services provided at the Attorney General’s office.”

Alexander Chak, a second year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2013, with double majors in criminology, law and society, along with psychology and social behavior. Chak is from Queens, New York, and graduated from Northwood High School in Irvine in 2008.

Houston Garner, a third year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in political science in 2014. Garner is from Bryant and graduated from Bryant High School in 2011.

Emily Helmick, a second year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2015, with a degree in healthcare management/marketing. Helmick is from Peja, Kosovo, and graduated from Prishtina High School in Prishtina, Kosovo in 2011.

Alex Nguyen, a third year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in biology and a doctorate in medical science. Nguyen is from Fort Smith and graduated from Subiaco Academy.

Ryan Smith, a second year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. He graduated from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, in 2013, with a degree in political science. Smith is from Keller, Texas, and graduated from Keller High School in 2009.

Phillip Treat, a second year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking for the Solicitor General. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2015, with a degree in criminal justice. Treat is from Greenbrier and graduated from Cabot High School in 2011.

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Seller of Fake ID Cards

Rutledge Settles with Seller of Fake ID Cards

Wed, Jun 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has settled a consumer-protection lawsuit against a Pulaski County woman who was accused of deceptively advertising “notario” services and selling fake identification (ID) cards, which she improperly described as legal forms of identification.

Under the terms of the settlement, Micaela Hernandez of North Little Rock and her business, M. Hernandez Multiservices, may not advertise or sell IDs to Arkansas consumers; is permanently restrained from advertising as a notario, or any similar term, without displaying the proper notice under the Arkansas Notarios Act; and must pay $3,000 to the Attorney General’s office. If Hernandez, at any point, violates the injunctive terms of the settlement within five years, she must pay $25,000 to the Attorney General’s office.

“Micaela Hernandez violated the trust of consumers, many of them immigrants, by letting them believe she was a licensed attorney who could provide government backed ID cards,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This deceptive scheme left many with little money and useless ID cards, putting them in difficult situations. Today, Ms. Hernandez is being held accountable for her fraudulent actions.”

The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court in November 2014 and claimed that Hernandez and her business violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Notario Act for unlawful business practices primarily targeting Spanish-speaking consumers. Notario fraud occurs when someone takes advantage of the English translation of notary public. In Latin America, notario refers to members of the legal community who have specialized training similar to attorneys in various areas of the law.

M. Hernandez Multiservices sold $70 ID cards advertised as being valid for four years and legally acceptable as a secondary form of identification. Additionally, Hernandez promoted services as a notario.

Arkansas law requires anyone using the terms notario, notario publico or any similar term in advertisements to also provide notice that the advertiser is not a licensed attorney and that the advertiser cannot offer legal advice or other legal assistance regarding immigration.

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Pharmaceutical Companies to Resolve Anti-Kickback Violations

Settlement Reached with Pharmaceutical Companies to Resolve Anti-Kickback Violations

Mon, Jun 13, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement agreement with Genentech Inc. and OSI Pharmaceuticals LLC. Genentech and OSI have agreed to pay a total of $67 million to the federal and individual states’ Medicaid programs, with Arkansas to receive $131,942.10.

Arkansas joined 49 other states and the District of Columbia in resolving allegations that the companies made misleading representations to physicians and other health care providers about the effectiveness of the drug, Tarceva, to treat non-small cell lung cancer. These misleading representations caused false or fraudulent claims for Tarceva to be submitted to the states’ Medicaid programs for use that was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The agreement also resolves allegations that the companies paid kickbacks to health care professionals as inducement to prescribe Tarceva.

“This type of fraud from large corporations harms those in need and steals money from important programs,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas’s health care providers should make decisions on medical devices based strictly on need, cost and value and not based on kickbacks.”

The investigation resulted from a qui tam action originally filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes.

The state settlements were negotiated by a team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, including attorneys general in California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

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Firearms Outside the Home

Rutledge Denounces 9th Circuit’s Ruling Against Firearms Outside the Home

Thu, Jun 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge disagreed with today’s decision from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which essentially denies residents of San Diego County, California, the right of possession of a concealed handgun for self-defense outside the home.

“The idea that a State can completely ban or unfairly restrict the right of a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed weapon ignores the written text and history of the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I believe states can create concealed carry permitting laws consistent with the Constitution, but such laws must be fair, even-handed and not unduly restrictive of the ability of citizens to actually obtain conceal and carry permits. San Diego County’s concealed carry permitting scheme amounts to a total or nearly total ban on concealed carry, which is why I joined an amicus brief in support of the gun owners in this case.”

Rutledge, along with 20 other states, filed an amicus brief in April 2015, challenging San Diego County’s effective prohibition of both open and concealed carry of firearms.

Rutledge and the other attorneys general said the Constitution clearly allows U.S. citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms for lawful purposes, including for self-defense, both inside and outside the home.

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