Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Feb 06 2018

Dear Friends,

The new year began with my office’s Civil Rights Unit launching another major lawsuit. At least six Motel 6 locations in Washington state methodically handed over thousands of guests’ personal information to ICE agents without requiring a warrant, leading to the detention of individuals in Washington state. I intend to find out who at Motel 6 knew about these practices, and I intend to hold Motel 6 accountable.

We also saw a significant development in another major case my office is handling. The court agreed to unseal new information in our complaint against Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, revealing the mechanics of Purdue’s massive deception.

Cases like these are why I formed the Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit and expanded the Consumer Protection Division in my office.

In this issue:

Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.

Sincerely,

 

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Taking Motel 6 to court for violating thousands of Washingtonians’ privacy

In September, we heard news reports that two Arizona Motel 6 locations had been providing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with guest registry lists without requiring ICE to provide a warrant. After the news came out, Motel 6 stated these actions by the Arizona locations were “implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management.” I asked my team to investigate whether the 26 Motel 6 locations in Washington state were doing the same.

Our investigation found that the incidents were not isolated to Arizona. So far, we know that six locations released information to ICE: Bellingham, two locations in Everett, south Seattle, SeaTac and south Tacoma. We will continue to investigate the other 20 locations around the state.

Motel 6 released everyone’s private information when they handed over their guest lists to ICE, not just names in which ICE had an interest. At four of the six known locations alone, Motel 6 shared more than 9,000 guests' private information. The way Motel 6 handed over personal information violated its own privacy policy on its website. I filed a lawsuit against the company in January, alleging that Motel 6’s actions violate the state Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

 

KING-5 TV 
Motel 6 gave guest lists, personal info to ICE agents, lawsuit says

The Seattle Times 
Washington state AG sues Motel 6 over giving ICE info on 9,000 guests

Crosscut 
AG Ferguson sues Motel 6 for outing guests to ICE agents


Shining a light on opioid manufacturer’s conduct

When I filed a lawsuit against Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma in September 2017, the pharmaceutical company insisted that we could not release much of the evidence to the public because it was a “trade secret.” A judge disagreed. This January, my office filed a complaint including the newly released information, highlighting more of Purdue’s egregious actions.

The newly released information includes examples of Purdue’s practices providing misleading information and ignoring risk factors in opioid prescribing for the sake of higher sales. Purdue’s own studies concluded that long-term use of opioids was “based on relatively weak or indirect evidence.” However, Purdue continued to market its drugs as beneficial to long-term function. Purdue also promised to detect and report questionable prescribing activity to the authorities, though it often failed to do so. Instead, it targeted high prescribers in its marketing strategy to increase sales.

I will continue to hold Purdue accountable for its deceptive practices and the devastation its drugs have caused.    

 

The Daily Herald 
State lawsuit: Drug maker knew Oxy was too plentiful here

The Columbian 
State Attorney General: OxyContin maker Purdue pushed prescriptions

The Seattle Times 
Misleading marketing of opioids has cost local communities


 Working across Washington

In January, I was excited to take part in the Slade Gorton Symposium, created and hosted by my office and the University of Washington. We chose this year to celebrate Sen. Gorton’s legacy and his 90th birthday and 50th anniversary of his election as attorney general. I had the honor of speaking with Sen. Gorton on a panel with former Attorney General Rob McKenna. We discussed everything from Sen. Gorton’s courageous call for Nixon’s resignation to the daily life of an Attorney General. If you missed the event, you won’t be able to sample the cake, but you will be able to stream the symposium from the comfort of your own home. Stay tuned!

I also had the opportunity to speak with groups from all over Washington in the past month, including the Association of Washington Cities. At their annual City Action Days, I enjoyed speaking with Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson and hearing the issues and concerns of cities across our diverse state.

 

Association of Washington Cities 
2018 City Action Days


 

 

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