Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

The Complex Litigation Division provides representation on the Office's most difficult, challenging, and high profile cases. The Division handles both affirmative and defensive litigation for the State of Washington.

Representative affirmative litigation in which members of the Complex Litigation Division have participated include Washington v. United States, Washington's challenge to the federal government's family separation policy; Washington v. U.S. Department of State, Washington’s challenge to the federal government’s deregulation of 3D printed guns; Washington v. Purdue Pharma and Washington v. McKesson Corp., et al., Washington's suits related to the opioid epidemic; and Washington v. Eyman, a campaign finance enforcement action. The Division works closely with other units and divisions in the Office that engage in affirmative litigation, including the Counsel for Environmental Protection Unit as well as the Consumer Protection, Antitrust, and Wing Luke Civil Rights Divisions.

The defensive litigation in which members of the Complex Litigation Division have participated include defending state agencies in class actions and other significant, challenging, and complex cases. These cases include Stormans, Inc. v. Weisman, a challenge to Washington's rules requiring the dispensation of emergency contraceptives, McCleary v. State, regarding Washington's method of funding public schools, and Hooper v. City of Seattle, a challenge to governmental actions regarding homeless encampments. The Division works closely with other divisions including Torts, Social and Health Services, Education, Corrections, and Ecology.

The Complex Litigation Division also fulfills a leading role for the AGO in the enforcement of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA"). This includes monitoring and enforcing violations of advertising restrictions by the major tobacco companies, multi-state litigation of payment disputes, and assistance with implementation of the public health provisions of the MSA. Regulatory enforcement of the emerging e-cigarette and vaping industries is an increasing portion of this role.