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Chris Carlson represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.

On July 28, the Iowa attorney general’s office filed suit against Philip Morris, USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and 16 other tobacco companies, accusing them of defrauding Iowa of over $133 million by allegedly engaging in bad faith disputes over amounts due under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

Tobacco company signatories to the MSA, also known as participating manufacturers (PMs), must pay the settling states their portion of $9 billion dollars on an annual basis. These payments are subject to a handful of various upward and downward adjustments, one of which is known as the “Non-Participating Manufacturer Adjustment” or “NPM Adjustment.” The NPM Adjustment may reduce the amount of money a state is due from the PMs in a given year if the state did not enact and “diligently enforce” an “escrow statute,” requiring non-participating manufacturers (NPMs) to place money in proportion to their sales made into that state into an escrow account.
Continue Reading Iowa Attorney General Brings Suit Against Participating Manufacturers to the Master Settlement Agreement

On June 10, a bipartisan coalition of 31 state attorneys general, led by Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf, asking the agency to reject premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) for all products that contain nicotine not derived from tobacco, also known as non-tobacco nicotine (NTN) or synthetic nicotine.
Continue Reading Bipartisan Coalition of 31 State AGs Urge FDA to Deny Marketing Authorization for Non-Tobacco Nicotine Products

Last year we reported that Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office settled with several online sellers over alleged violations of the state’s delivery sales ban of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) (the Delivery Sale Ban) and that we expected Vermont’s scrutiny to continue. As predicted, Attorney General Donovan’s office recently announced two more settlements with online sellers, resulting in a total of 23 settlements with online ENDS sellers for a total of $833,750 in civil penalties dating back to December 2020.
Continue Reading Vermont Continues Its Crackdown on Online ENDS Sellers

The scope and scale of state attorneys general investigations has expanded for several reasons, including a perceived lack of enforcement at the federal level. Many state attorneys general are not reticent to fill a perceived regulatory void, and they routinely conduct investigations and bring enforcement actions when they observe a federal agency is not moving fast enough or otherwise has neglected its responsibility.
Continue Reading Five Tips for When State Attorneys General Come Knocking

On November 16, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein launched a probe into e-cigarette maker Puff Bar and others, citing concerns of youth-appealing flavors, youth marketing, and poor age verification. In a statement, Stein announced, “We are actively investigating Puff Bar and other companies at all stages of the distribution chain, from manufacturers to retailers and everything in between to ensure they are not profiting off kids.”
Continue Reading North Carolina AG Opens Investigation Into E-Cigarette Maker Puff Bar

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan recently announced that his office settled violations of the state’s delivery sale law with three online electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) sellers. Since December 2020 and including these most recent settlements, the state has collected $472,500 from 13 companies for such violations, signaling the state’s growing desire to enforce this law against online ENDS sellers.

Continue Reading Vermont Settles with Online Retailers for Violations of Delivery Sale and Consumer Protection Laws