Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Federal Litigation Summary

Last updated: 7/31/20

Total cases against the federal government since January 2017 70
Total cases led by Washington State Attorney General's Office 27
Total cases led by other state attorneys general 43

 

Legal Victories - Completed 21
Legal Victories - Appealed or could be Appealed 9
Cases Lost - Appealed or could be Appealed 1
Cases Lost - Completed 0

 

Amicus or "friend of the court" briefs authored or joined by Washington state in cases against the federal government can be found here.

Relevant Documents:

Letter to Sen. Schoesler detailing the cost to taxpayers related to this litigation.

Legal record of the Texas attorneys general against the Obama administration (49 Cases Filed, 7 Cases Won, 12 Cases Lost) 

 

Legal Victories - Completed 

Washington V. Trump
Subject: Original travel ban
Date Filed: 1/30/2017
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Minnesota, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon

Overview

The travel ban separated families, divided employers from employees, and prohibited students and professors from resuming studies in the United States. In addition, many individuals lawfully in Washington state were denied the right to visit family members abroad, or travel for business. When Washington challenged the constitutionality and legality of the travel ban in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on January 30, 2017, individuals with green cards and valid visas were subject to the travel ban and being turned away at airports.

Washington’s complaint included dozens of declarations from Washington businesses, colleges and universities, and national security experts.

Judge James Robart, appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled in Washington’s favor on February 3, 2017, granting a nationwide temporary restraining order. On February 9, in a unanimous opinion, a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction. The Trump Administration chose not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, rescinded the executive order, and agreed to reimburse Washington’s costs related to the appeal.

 

New York v. Perry
Subject: Energy efficiency standards
Date Filed: 3/31/17
Leading State(s): New  York
Joining States: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On March 31, 2017, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office and a multistate coalition of attorneys general sought review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the administration’s unlawful delay in implementing new energy efficiency rules for ceiling fans. After the states filed the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Energy conceded and announced that the rules would go into effect.

The energy efficiency rules are estimated to reduce electrical consumption by about 200 billion kilowatt hours over the next three decades, saving consumers anywhere from $4.5 billion to $12.1 billion in energy costs.

 

Clean Air Council, et al. v. EPA
Subject: New oil & gas facilities
Date Filed: 6/20/17
Leading State(s): California and Massachusetts
Joining States: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On June 20, 2017, state attorneys general intervened in a lawsuit against the EPA challenging delays in implementing a rule regulating emissions from new oil and gas facilities. The rule provides important protections for Washington’s residents against the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The effects of methane cannot be reversed or undone.

On July 3, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Washington state, finding that the EPA had violated the Clean Air Act. Industry intervenors sought en banc review. On August 10, 2017, with an 8-3 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court denied en banc review. 

 

New York v. EPA
Subject: Ground-level ozone standards
Date Filed: 8/1/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and District of Columbia 

Overview

On August 1, 2017, 15 states, including Washington, filed suit against the EPA in the D.C. Circuit after Administrator Pruitt announced his decision to delay designating which areas of the country met the new ground-level ozone standards. The next day, Administrator Pruitt reversed course and withdrew the decision to delay. 

 

California, et al. v. U.S. Department of Transportation
Subject: Vehicle emissions rule
Date Filed: 9/20/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington

Overview

On September 20, 2017, Washington and eight other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after the Federal Highway Administration unlawfully suspended the effective date of an important rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gases without notice or opportunity for comment. The rule requires states to measure the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by on-road vehicles on the national highway system and to set targets for reducing those emissions.

The Federal Highway Administration has since conceded and announced the rules would immediately go into effect pending a procedurally valid repeal.

 

California v. Pruitt
Subject: Ground-level ozone
Date Filed: 12/5/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On December 5, 2017, Washington and 14 other states filed a lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Air Act by delaying air quality standards for ground-level ozone pollution. After Washington and 15 other states filed a lawsuit in July 2017, the EPA withdrew its decision to delay the deadline for designating which areas around the country did and did not comply with new standards. However, the EPA failed to meet the October 1, 2017, deadline for the designations.

On March 12, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granted summary judgment in favor of the states, ruling that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act and ordering the agency to adopt the designations by no later April 30, 2018. The EPA complied with the order on April 30.

 

California, et al. v. EPA
Subject: Glider trucks
Date Filed: 7/19/18
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia 

Overview

On July 19, 2018, Washington and 16 other attorneys general filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging an Environmental Protection Agency action that effectively suspends strict limits on “glider” trucks — new heavy-duty trucks manufactured with highly polluting, refurbished engines that do not comply with modern emissions standards. The action, taken by outgoing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on his last day with the agency, allows manufacturers to put thousands more of the high-polluting trucks on the road before any formal process to modify or repeal the strict limits, instituted in 2016, is completed. On July 26, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a memo withdrawing the guidance suspending the limits on glider trucks.

 

Massachusetts, et al. v. Devos
Subject: Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule
Date Filed: 7/6/17
Leading State(s): Massachusetts
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On July 6, 2017, Washington joined 18 other attorneys general to file a lawsuit in the D.C. District against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The lawsuit followed DeVos’ announcement that the Department of Education was delaying indefinitely the implementation of the “borrower defense regulations,” which were set to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The borrower defense regulations provide important consumer protections for prospective, current, and former students of for-profit colleges. For example, under the rules, a state attorney general’s successful litigation against a school for violating consumer protection laws can make its students automatically eligible for student loan forgiveness.

The states’ case was consolidated with a similar challenge, Bauer v. DeVos. On Sept. 12, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss granted the motion for summary judgment of Washington and the other Plaintiff States and ruled the Department of Education improperly delayed implementation of the rules. The rules went into effect on Oct. 16.

 

Washington v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Subject: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Date Filed: 1/31/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On January 31, 2018, Washington filed a lawsuit claiming that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to respond to the Attorney General’s Office’s Freedom of Information Act request, seeking communications among FERC commissioners. The state’s November 2017 FOIA request asked for emails and other written communications during a tumultuous time at FERC, including periods in which the Commission failed to have a quorum, failed to hold any public meetings, and considered a proposal from the Department of Energy that would have upended the energy markets. As a result of Washington's lawsuit, FERC has provided hundreds of pages of documents and paid the Attorney General's costs and fees, resolving the case as of Nov. 13, 2018.

 

New York v. Pruitt
Subject: Chemical Disaster Rule
Date Filed: 7/24/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington

Overview

On July 24, 2017, Washington and 10 other states filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit over the Trump Administration’s unlawful delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule. The 2010 Tesoro refinery explosion in Anacortes and other high-profile accidents across the nation prompted the Chemical Disaster Rule. On Aug. 18, 2018, a panel with the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Trump Administration’s delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule violated the Clean Air Act. The Administration decided not to appeal the ruling.

 

Oceana v. Ross
Subject: Drift Gillnet Rule
Date Filed: July 12, 2017
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On April 1, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Washington’s motion to intervene in a case accusing the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service of violating the Magnuson-Stevens Act by refusing to publish a final regulation designed to address the “bycatch” of endangered and threatened marine species by the gillnet fishery. After a multi-year public process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council proposed the new rules, which the National Marine Fisheries Service initially endorsed. After public comments, the National Marine Fisheries Service reversed its endorsement, and refused to publish the final regulations. Oceana, an environmental advocacy organization, sued over the reversal.

On Oct. 24, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner granted Oceana’s motion for summary judgment, agreeing that the Administration’s reversal violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The federal government appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit. Washington filed a motion to intervene in the case on Jan. 23, 2019.

On April 15, 2019, the Administration filed a volutary motion to dismiss its appeal of the District Court ruling, allowing the District Court's ruling to stand.

 

State of Washington v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.
Subject: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Date Filed: 5/3/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On May 3, 2018, Washington filed a lawsuit claiming the Environmental Protection Agency failed to respond to the Attorney General’s Office’s Freedom of Information Act request, seeking communications from the EPA to advisory committee members regarding the EPA's new policy barring scientists who receive EPA grants from serving on advisory committees. As a result of the lawsuit, the EPA provided more than 1,700 pages of documents not previously made public. On May 10, 2019, the EPA agreed to pay Washington state $6,000 in attorney costs and fees to resolve the case.

 

New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Commerce
Subject: Citizenship question on 2020 Census
Date Filed: 4/3/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia; Cities of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Seattle; City and County of San Francisco; and the United States Conference of Mayors

Overview

On April 3, 2018, Washington, 16 other states and the District of Columbia, in addition to six cities and San Francisco County, filed a lawsuit to block the addition of a question regarding U.S. citizenship to the 2020 Census. The lawsuit argues that, according to the Census Bureau’s own research, adding such a question will depress participation in the Census, potentially resulting in an undercount that will adversely impact congressional representation and jeopardize some of the billions of dollars in federal funding allocated based on Census data. 

On Jan. 15, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman barred the Census Bureau from adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census. On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in part Judge Firman's decision, and remanded the case back to the district court, agreeing that the evidence does not match the Secretary of Commerce’s explanation for the decision to add the question to the Census. On July 16, 2019, Judge Furman issued a permanent injunction barring the administration from adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

 

Massachusetts, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al.
Subject: FOIA request regarding immigration enforcement
Date Filed: 10/17/17
Leading State(s): Massachusetts
Joining States: California, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington and District of Columbia

Overview

On October 17, 2017, Washington joined nine Attorneys General in a lawsuit accusing the Trump Administration of failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request regarding information on federal immigration enforcement. Nearly four months earlier, the Attorneys General requested the information from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and U.S. Customs & Border Protection, all agencies within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The AGs filed suit after the agencies failed to disclose the information. 

As a result of the states' lawsuit, the Administration has produced thousands of pages of documents not previously disclosed, resolving the case as of Oct. 2, 2019.

 

California, et al. v. Perry
Subject: Energy efficiency standards for appliances
Date Filed: 6/13/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and City of New York

Overview

On June 13, 2017, Washington and 10 other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California over the Trump Administration’s unlawful delay of new energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, portable air conditioners, and other appliances. The standards will save consumers at least $4.7 billion in energy costs.

On Feb. 15, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria granted the states' motion for summary judgment, and ordered the administration to publish the new standards within the next 28 days. The administration appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Oct. 10, 2019, a panel with the 9th Circuit upheld Judge Chhabria's decision, ruling that the Department of Energy acted contrary to its own rules by refusing to finalize the standards. In December 2019, the Department of Energy acted to publish the rules.

 

League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Wheeler
Subject: Pesticides
Date Filed: 6/6/17
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and District of Columbia

Overview

On June 6, 2017, Washington, six other states, and the District of Columbia filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit to intervene in this case, in order to ensure that the EPA completes its review of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos to protect farmworkers and those living in agricultural communities. The motion to intervene in the case was granted in December 2017. Two months later, two additional states joined the lawsuit.

On August 8, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the EPA’s decision to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos, and ordered the EPA to revoke all uses on food within 60 days. The EPA petitioned for en banc review on Sept. 25. On April 19, 2019, the Ninth Circuit en banc panel ordered the EPA to make a final decision on the plaintiffs' objections within 90 days. After the EPA denied the states' objections, the states filed a separate petition challenging the EPA's denial of their objections.

 

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, et al v. U.S. Navy
Subject: Naval vessel scraping
Date Filed: 6/15/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted Washington’s motion to intervene in a case challenging the U.S. Navy’s practice of scraping the hulls of decommissioned vessels in a way that releases metals and other contaminants into Sinclair Inlet. This contamination can harm marine life up and down the food chain, including salmon and orcas.

In June 2017, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the Washington Environmental Council and the Suquamish Tribe filed the lawsuit against the Navy, which asserts that the military branch violated the federal Clean Water Act by releasing toxic substances into the inlet without a permit. The lawsuit follows the Navy’s January 2017 efforts to blast marine debris off the hull of a 60,000-ton, decommissioned aircraft carrier before transport and scrapping. In doing so, the Navy released approximately 50 dump truck loads of solid materials into Puget Sound, including metals highly toxic to marine life. 

On Jan. 29, 2020, the Navy agreed to a legally enforceable agreement requiring it to stop in-water scraping for 10 years. During the 10-year moratorium, the Navy must clean inactive ships that require scraping in a dry dock, out of the water, to prevent releasing materials directly into Puget Sound. In addition to the moratorium, the Navy must prevent additional environmental damage caused by the scraping of the ex-Independence by placing a layer of clean sediment on the impacted portions of Sinclair Inlet. The Navy must also reimburse the fees incurred by the Attorney General’s Office and other plaintiffs.

 

New York, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission
Subject: Net neutrality
Date Filed: 2/22/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and District of Columbia

Overview

On Feb. 22, 2018, Washington, 21 other states and the District of Columbia sought review of the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order. The states contend the FCC's decision to repeal Obama-era “net neutrality” rules violates the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Communications Act of 1934. The states also seek to vacate the portion of the FCC's order preempting state and local regulation of broadband service. 

On Oct. 1, 2019, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that while the FCC could repeal national “net-neutrality” rules, the FCC’s attempt to preempt state and local regulation of broadband services was invalid. The court’s decision allows Washington’s first-in-the-nation open internet law under the state Consumer Protection Act to remain in effect. Attorneys with the State of Washington primarily worked on the arguments against state preemption in the case. The federal government declined to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

New York, et al. v. Trump
Subject: DACA
Date Filed: 9/6/17
Leading State(s): Washington, New York, Massachusetts
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and District of Columbia

Overview

On September 6, 2017, Washington and 16 other states filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York seeking to halt President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The president’s decision ends protections for 17,000 Dreamers in Washington state alone. Dreamers were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own. They are attending our universities, working for our state agencies and local governments, and contributing to our economy. In addition to seeking a halt to the president’s decision to end DACA, this lawsuit seeks to prevent the federal government from misusing personal information Dreamers provided the government in good faith in order to sign up for DACA after being promised that information would not be used to deport them or their families.

On February 13, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis granted the states' request for a preliminary injunction, blocking President Donald Trump's effort to end the DACA program. On March 29,2018, Judge Garaufis ruled that the states' constitutional challenge to Trump's decision can go forward. The injunction enjoins the cancellation of DACA for current recipients and requires the Department of Homeland Security to accept and process renewal applications for current DACA grantees. The injunction protects nearly 18,000 Washingtonians who are DACA grantees and, as a result, can work and go to school in our State. The federal government appealed the preliminary injunction, along with the trial court’s orders denying the government’s motions to dismiss the case. The appeals of the three district court orders (two orders on motions to dismiss and the preliminary injunction order) have been consolidated before Second Circuit. Oral argument was heard on Jan. 25, 2019. On June 28, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review all three cases where an injunction was granted. On June 18, 2020, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

 

Washington v. Department of Homeland Security, et al.
Subject: International student visa rule
Date Filed: 7/10/20
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On July 10, 2020, the Washington Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging the Trump Administration’s visa rule for international students, which revokes student visas for international students attending colleges and universities that are holding classes remotely during the pandemic. Visa holders attending colleges and universities that will offer some in-person classes will lose their visas and other visa-related privileges if they attend classes remotely from their home countries — despite the public health risks of unnecessary travel, and regardless of students’ individual health risks. The rule requires every college and university to decide by July 15 whether they will hold their classes remotely, and imposes other arbitrarily short and onerous deadlines. ​

On July 14, 2020, four days after Washington filed its lawsuit, the administration announced it would rescind its new visa rule for international students after multiple federal lawsuits challenging the rule. At a hearing for Washington’s case the next day, the federal government confirmed on the record that the policy had been rescinded.

 

New York v. Pruitt
Subject: Hydrofluorocarbons
Date Filed: 6/27/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Overview

On June 27, 2018, Washington and 10 other Attorneys General filed a lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly reversing a rule that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, in response to a narrow DC Circuit ruling. HFCs are a powerful type of greenhouse gas used in air conditioning, refrigeration, aerosols and fire retardants. Their global warming potential is 300 to 1,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. On April 7, 2020, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the EPA’s attempt to reverse the greenhouse gas restrictions.

 

Legal Victories - Appealed or Could Be Appealed

 

Washington, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al.
Subject: 3D printed guns
Date Filed: 7/30/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York, and District of Columbia

Overview

On July 30, 2018, Washington, seven states and the District of Columbia filed a complaint and a motion for temporary restraining order, arguing that Trump Administration actions to allow the distribution of data files for downloadable, 3D-printed firearms violate the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment. On July 31, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik granted Washington's request for a temporary restraining order blocking the distribution of the data files for downloadable 3D-printed firearms.Judge Lasnik converted the TRO to a nationwide preliminary injunction on August 27, 2018. On Nov. 12, 2019, Judge Lasnik vacated the Administration’s decision to allow the distribution of data files for downloadable, 3D-printed firearms, agreeing with arguments made by the states in their motion for summary judgment.

On Jan. 14, 2020, Defense Distributed and other third-party defendants appealed Judge Lasnik’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On July 21, 2020, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Defense Distributed’s appeal.

 

California v. Azar
Subject: Contraception access
Date Filed: 12/18/18
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On Dec. 18, 2018, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office joined a multistate lawsuit in the Northern District of California challenging President Trump’s final rules restricting contraception access.

If allowed to go forward, President Trump’s rules could have a significant impact on more than 1.5 million Washington workers and their dependents who receive insurance through their employer’s self-funded plan. One study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year without insurance coverage. Some Washington women who currently use contraception may be denied no-cost coverage and be forced to turn to state-funded programs to receive the care they need. State-funded reproductive health services helped more than 90,000 patients in 2016 alone. More than three-quarters of those patients were women who used contraception, saving the state an estimated $160 million in maternal and birth-related costs, according to a report from the Washington State Department of Health.

On Jan. 13, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granted the states' motion for a preliminary injunction, which blocks the rules from going into effect in all states that are involved in the challenge, as well as the District of Columbia, until the case is resolved. The Administration appealed the injuction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Oct. 22, 2019, a panel with the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of the states, and upheld the injunction.

 

New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor
Subject: Association Health Plans
Date Filed: 7/26/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On July 26, 2018, Washington and 11 other attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging a Department of Labor rule that allows small businesses and self-employed individuals to join association health plans, which could significantly draw healthy people out of state health care exchanges. According to the lawsuit, the rule, published June 21, 2018, unlawfully expands the definition of “employer” as passed by Congress. This conflicts with the clear statutory structure Congress set up when it passed the Affordable Care Act. The states’ lawsuit argues that expanding this definition requires an act of Congress, meaning the Trump Administration cannot do it unilaterally. 

On March 28, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates granted the states’ motion for summary judgment, striking down the two provisions that form the crux of the rule, and saying it “is clearly an end-run around the ACA.” The Administration has appealed the ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are set for Nov. 14, 2019.

 

California, et al. v. Zinke, et al.
Subject: Coal leasing on public lands
Date Filed: 5/9/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: New Mexico, New York, Washington

Overview

On May 9, 2017, Washington and three other states filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division, challenging the Department of the Interior’s decision to restart a program to lease coal-mining rights on public land without supplementing or replacing its nearly 40-year-old environmental study about the environmental harms of mining on federal land. On April 19, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump Administration must comply with federal law requiring federal agencies to conduct environmental review before taking actions that impact the environment. 

 

Washington v. Azar
Subject: Conscience rule
Date Filed: 5/13/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On May 28, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington challenging the Trump Administration’s “conscience rule,” which gives health care professionals broad discretion to refuse lawful and medically necessary care to patients for religious or moral reasons, even when the patient’s life is at risk. The lawsuit argues the rule would jeopardize access to reproductive health care, particularly for low-income and rural patients and allow providers to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. If the federal government believes Washington, its health care institutions, or other recipients of federal health care funds have violated the rule, it may cut off all health care funding to the state — more than $10 billion per year. On Nov. 7, 2019, Judge Stanley Bastian found the rule unlawful, striking it down nationwide.

 

Washington v. Trump, et al.
Subject: Border wall funding
Date Filed: 9/19/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On September 19, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s diversion of nearly $89 million of congressionally approved military construction funds from the Bangor submarine base to help fund the president’s border wall. In its request for funding, the Department of Defense wrote about the Bangor pier project’s importance to military readiness, asserting that if the Bangor pier project is not funded, “full operational capability of the [transit protection] mission cannot be executed. [Nuclear Weapons Security] posture will continue to fall short of DoD directives and requirements.”

Ferguson asserts that the Trump Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and Articles 1 and 2 of the U.S. Constitution with his the president’s emergency declaration and subsequent diversion of congressionally appropriated funding. The Constitution grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate federal funds. Ferguson also alleges multiple statutory violations, including that the president’s emergency declaration was made in bad faith.

On Feb. 27, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara J. Rothstein issued an order reversing and prohibiting the Trump Administration's decision to divert the $89 million in construction funds for Bangor to any border wall project.

 

Washington et al. v. U.S. Department of State et al.
Subject: 3D Printed Guns
Date Filed: 1/23/20
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, District Of Columbia

Overview

On Jan. 23, 2020, Washington filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging the Trump Administration’s effort to allow 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet by publishing new rules that would transfer regulation of 3D-printed guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, effectively allowing their unlimited distribution. On March 6, 2020, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the transfer of 3D-printed gun files to Commerce and requiring the State Department to continue regulating them while the multistate lawsuit continues.

 

Washington v. Azar et al.
Subject: Health insurance billing
Date Filed: 1/31/20
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On Jan. 31, 2020, the Washington Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington challenging a new Trump Administration rule requiring health insurance companies to send consumers two separate bills for monthly insurance premiums: one for abortion coverage and another for all other coverage. The lawsuit asserts this unlawful rule would affect more than 200,000 Washingtonians and cause many to inadvertently fail to pay their premiums in full, jeopardizing their health coverage. On April 9, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley A. Bastian declared the Trump Administration’s Double-Billing Rule “invalid, and without force in Washington” because it violates Washington State’s Reproductive Health Care Access for All Act.

 

Washington v. DeVos
Subject: CARES Act Higher Education Relief Fund
Date Filed: 5/19/20
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On May 19, 2020, Washington challenged the Department of Education’s decision to restrict Higher Eductation Relief Fund money, provided as part of the CARES Act to help college students financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to only those students who qualify for federal financial aid. The Department of Education’s restriction excludes many students in need, including students without a high school degree, adult basic education students, students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, running start students and more. As a result of the department’s decision, thousands of Washington higher education students who desperately need financial assistance have been excluded from the program.

On June 12, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice granted Washington's motion for a preliminary injunction, largely blocking the department's decision.

 

Other Lawsuits against the Trump Administration in which Washington is the Lead

 

Karnoski et al. v. Trump, et al.
Subject: Military transgender ban
Date Filed: 9/25/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

Washington is home to 60,000 members of the active and reserve military, including over 8,000 soldiers and airmen in the Washington National Guard. The National Guard is integral to Washington’s emergency preparedness and disaster recovery planning. President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals in the military applies to Washington’s National Guard as well as the active duty military, restricting the Guard’s recruiting pool.

Our motion to intervene was granted on November 14, 2017. On December 11, 2017, Judge Marsha Pechman granted a preliminary injunction, blocking President Trump's ban on transgender individuals in the military while the case moves forward. The Department of Justice moved to dissolve the injunction on March 27, 2018. Judge Pechman denied the motion on April 13. The Administration appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on Oct. 10. The three-judge panel has not issued a ruling on the appeal. On Jan. 22, 2019, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the preliminary injunction, allowing the ban to go into effect while litigation continues.

 

Washington v. Trump, et al.
Subject: Contraception access
Date Filed: 10/9/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On October 9, 2017, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office filed suit in the Western District of Washington challenging President Trump’s interim rules restricting contraception access.

If allowed to go forward, President Trump’s rules could have a significant impact on more than 1.5 million Washington workers and their dependents who receive insurance through their employer’s self-funded plan. One study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year without insurance coverage. Some Washington women who currently use contraception may be denied no-cost coverage and be forced to turn to state-funded programs to receive the care they need. State-funded reproductive health services helped more than 90,000 patients in 2016 alone. More than three-quarters of those patients were women who used contraception, saving the state an estimated $160 million in maternal and birth-related costs, according to a report from the Washington State Department of Health.

In November of 2018, the Administration issued new final rules, replacing the interim rules at issue in Washington’s lawsuit. As a result, on Dec. 18, 2018, Washington voluntarily dismissed its case challenging the interim rules without prejudice and joined a separate multistate lawsuit, California v. Azar, challenging the new final rules.

 

Washington v. Trump (amended)
Subject: Second travel ban
Date Filed: 3/15/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon

Overview

Judge Robart heard Washington’s challenge to the revised travel ban on March 15. Before he could rule, judges in Maryland and Hawaii issued nationwide injunctions blocking the implementation of the ban. Judge Robart chose not to issue a ruling given that the revised travel ban was already halted. Washington amended its complaint when the third travel ban was issued.

 

Washington v. Trump (amended)
Subject: Third travel ban
Date Filed: 10/11/17
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon

Overview

On October 11, 2017, Washington filed a revised complaint in the Western District of Washington challenging President Trump’s third travel ban. President Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban is broader than previous iterations because rather than imposing a “temporary pause,” it indefinitely bans immigration by individuals from affected countries. Washington’s complaint includes dozens of declarations from individuals, universities, state agencies, healthcare system administrators, and businesses regarding the travel ban’s adverse impacts. Judge Robart chose not to issue a ruling. Washington voluntarily withdrew its lawsuit on Nov. 2, 2018, retaining the right to refile the case if circumstances warrant it.

 

Washington v. United States
Subject: Family separation
Date Filed: 6/26/18
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States: Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and District of Columbia

Overview

Washington state leads a coalition of 17 states (plus DC), in a challenge to the Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families along the SW border. The States claim that the Administration violated the constitutional rights of families by separating parents and children without any finding that the parents are unfit or pose a threat to the children, and that family separation is not a legitimate a means of deterring immigration. The States also argue that the Administration has been violating federal asylum laws by turning away families that present at ports of entry, that they have interposed unnecessary burdens on reunification, and that the stated intention to house families indefinitely in detention centers is also impermissible.  Parents who were separated from their children were detained at the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, and a number of children were detained in Seattle and other locations in Western Washington.  Several family members remain in our state as their immigration matters proceed.

The States filed the lawsuit in Seattle in late June, and it was transferred to the Southern District of California. The case is currently pending in the Southern District of California.

 

Washington v. EPA
Subject: Water quality standards
Date Filed: 6/6/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On June 6, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to revise Washington’s water quality standards, which are used to determine how clean the state’s waters must be in order to protect human health. In 2016, EPA revised the standards. In February 2017, an industry group requested the EPA reconsider its 2016 revisions. In May of this year, more than two years later, EPA announced its decision to grant the industry group’s request without any evidence that the 2016 standards are insufficient.

Revising the standards now, Washington’s lawsuit argues, would create confusion and disrupt the work Washington has already completed to meet the standards. The revision is a violation of the Clean Water Act, which only allows the EPA to revise an existing standard if the standard is not stringent enough — which is not the case with Washington’s existing standards.

 

Washington v. U.S. Navy
Subject: Growler program expansion
Date Filed: 7/9/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On July 9, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, asserting the U.S. Navy violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal Administrative Procedure Act and the National Historic Preservation Act by improperly analyzing the impact an expansion of its Growler program would have on human and environmental health and historical resources, and also failing to consider ways to minimize those impacts.

Growlers are aircraft that fly low in order to jam enemy communications. The expansion would increase Growler take-offs and landings to nearly 100,000 per year for the next 30 years. The lawsuit seeks to force the U.S. Navy to comply with the law and thoroughly analyze the dangers the increase in loud Growler traffic may pose to Washingtonians and wildlife on and around Whidbey Island.

 

Washington v. Azar, et al.
Subject: Title X "gag rule"
Date Filed: 3/5/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On March 5, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington challenging the Trump Administration’s “gag rule” that impacts Title X, the federal funding program for reproductive healthcare and family planning services. The Trump Administration’s new rule imposes a “gag” on Title X providers that prohibits them from referring their patients to abortion providers. It also requires Title X providers to refer each pregnant patient into a prenatal care program, regardless of the patient’s wishes or the provider’s medical judgment.

If not blocked, the rule will force out of the program health care professionals who provide nearly 90 percent of Title X family planning services to Washington patients, keeping thousands of vulnerable Washingtonians from reasonably accessing contraception, cancer and STI screening and other family planning care.

On April 25, 2019, District Court Judge Stanley Bastian granted Washington's request for a preliminary injunction, blocking the new rule from going into effect nationwide. On June 20, 2019, a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stayed the preliminary injunction. On July 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit granted Washington’s motion for an en banc rehearing on the motion to stay Judge Bastian’s preliminary injunction. On July 11, 2019, the Ninth Circuit upheld its decision to stay the preliminary injunction in a 7-4 vote. Oral arguments before the en banc panel were held on Sept. 23, 2019.

 

Washington v. U.S. Department of Transportation et al.
Subject: Train crew staffing
Date Filed: 7/29/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On July 29, 2019, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office sought review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of the Trump Administration’s May 29, 2019, decision to withdraw proposed 2016 regulations establishing minimum requirements for train crew staffing. The proposed regulations arose out of two devastating oil train accidents in 2013, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and Casselton, N.D.

Washington asserts that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s and Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of the proposed minimum staffing regulations violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the Federal Railroad Safety Act and related regulations.

 

Washington et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al.
Subject: Public Charge Rule
Date Filed: 8/14/19
Leading State(s): Washington, Virginia
Joining States: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island

Overview

On Aug. 14, 2019, Washington co-led a coalition of 13 states in filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over changes to the “public charge” rule that target immigrants and their families. The lawsuit asserts that the Trump Administration’s new rule unlawfully expands the definition of “public charge.”

Under the changes, if an immigrant who is legally in the country uses public benefits to which he or she is entitled ― such as food assistance to feed their U.S. citizen children or housing assistance ― even for a short time, the federal government may revoke their legal status, or even deport them. Immigrant families will likely refrain from applying for services they need out of fear it would be used against their noncitizen family members. Washington estimates that more than 140,000 lawfully present Washingtonians, including many U.S. citizen children, will lose health insurance, and families who need help will forego up to an estimated $55 million annually in food or cash assistance.

On Oct. 11, 2019, District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson granted the states' motion for a preliminary injunction, blocking the Administration's public charge rule from going into effect while the case continues. On Dec. 5, 2019, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district court injunction.

 

Washington v. Department of Homeland Security, et al.
Subject: Courthouse arrests
Date Filed: 12/17/19
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On Dec. 17, 2019, Washington filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging the Trump Administration for arresting immigrants in and near courthouses in Washington. This practice is harmful to public safety and Washington’s justice system.

Since 2017, immigration authorities have arrested hundreds of immigrants in or near courthouses in Washington. Contrary to the assertions of immigration officials, evidence shows these arrests are not limited to dangerous individuals. Many were victims of crime or appeared in court on nonviolent charges, such as traffic offenses, with no prior criminal record. Others were there to register motor vehicles, pay traffic tickets or accompany a relative to court. The lawsuit asserts that civil arrests in and around courthouses violate long-standing common law privileges against such arrests. This conduct also violates the Tenth Amendment, which provides states the autonomy to control the operation of their judiciaries and prosecute crime without federal interference.

 

Washington v. Azar
Subject: Affordable Care Act Section 1557 rule
Date Filed: 7/16/2020
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

On July 16, 2020, Washington filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s rule vastly limiting anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act. Among many other changes, the rule removes explicit protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping. This allows for discrimination against LGBTQ patients — particularly transgender patients. The Washington State Department of Health estimates that, if the rule stands, between 5,200 and 16,000 transgender Washingtonians will lose coverage for gender affirming health care services. An additional 82,000 LGBTQ Washingtonians will lose protection from discrimination as they seek health care.

 

Washington v. DeVos et al.
Subject: CARES Act elementary & secondary school relief funds
Date Filed: 7/20/2020
Leading State(s): Washington
Joining States:  

Overview

 

On July 20, 2020, the Washington Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging an unlawful U.S. Department of Education rule that will deprive Washington’s public elementary and secondary schools from receiving emergency relief funds. Congress included the emergency funds for schools in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act. Instead of distributing the CARES Act emergency relief as Congress intended, the department’s rule forces school districts to make a difficult choice before they can access the money. Districts must either substantially limit which of their public schools can access the funds, or base their calculations on total student population without considering the number of low-income students, reallocating a significant amount of funds to private schools regardless of student need.

On July 23, 2020, Washington filed motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to block the department's rule from being implemented or enforced.

 

California et al. v. Wheeler et al.
Subject: Clean Water Act Section 401
Date Filed: 7/21/2020
Leading State(s): Washington, California, New York
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C.

Overview

On July 21, 2020, Washington and 20 other attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s rules implementing section 401 of the Clean Water Act regarding states’ certification of water quality. This section allows states and tribal nations to protect health and human safety within their geographic boundaries by making permitting decisions related to the discharge of waste into state waterways. The new rule takes effect on September 11, 2020, and will handicap states’ abilities to regulate water quality. The rule forces states to issue permits based on an incomplete review of what effects industries will have on waterways. States will only be able to consider a narrow range of impacts these projects have on water quality, even when the consequences cause far-reaching and even irreversible environmental damage. The rule also limits the amount of information industry must provide, unreasonably reduces the amount of time states have to make decisions or deny permits and attempts to grant the federal government oversight of projects rather than states.

 

Other Lawsuits against the Trump Administration

Washington has filed 24 additional lawsuits against the Trump Administration. These legal actions are all part of multistate lawsuits with another state serving as the lead. This approach allows states to operate efficiently by sharing the work.

 

California et al. v. Trump
Subject: Cost sharing reduction subsidies
Date Filed: 10/14/17
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On October 14, 2017, Washington, 16 other states, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to unilaterally terminate cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which reduce out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income Americans. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, asserts that the president’s decision to withhold the payments is illegal and unconstitutional. The Trump Administration’s action will increase the premiums of 100,000 Washingtonians by as much as 28 percent. 

After the lawsuit was filed, Washington and several other States made a regulatory change that permitted many of the Washingtonians who would have been injured by the president’s decision to obtain increased premium subsidies for their health insurance purchased on exchanges. As of this date, the Trump Administration had acquiesced in this regulatory change. On July 18, 2018, Judge Vince Chhabria granted the states’ motion to dismiss the case without prejudice, allowing the states to file a new lawsuit in the future on the same issue if prompted by further federal action.

 

Maryland, et al. v. Department of Education
Subject: Gainful Employment Rule
Date Filed: 10/17/17
Leading State(s): Maryland and Pennsylvania
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On October 17, 2017, Washington, 16 other states, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education for unlawfully delaying the gainful employment rule. The gainful employment rule keeps colleges from offering worthless degrees and leaving their graduates with high levels of debt. It denies federal financial aid to schools whose graduates do not make enough money to repay the student loans they took out to earn their degrees. Motions for summary judgment were argued before the court on May 1, 2018. The court has not yet issued a decision.

 

New York, et al. v. Pruitt, et al.
Subject: Waters of the United States
Date Filed: 2/6/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and District of Columbia

Overview

On Feb. 6, 2018, we joined 10 other Attorneys General to file a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to suspend the “waters of the United States” rule. The rule provides much-needed clarity about which waters qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act, and which waters are only regulated by sometimes inconsistent state laws. The “waters of the United States” rule applies the Clean Water Act to both navigable waters and upstream waters that impact the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable waters, providing uniformity for state and federal regulators and project managers alike. The states await a decision from the court on motions for summary judgment.

After judges in other, similar cases prevented the Administration from suspending the "waters of the United States" rule, the Administration notified the court that it would not pursue appeals or continue to defend the suspension in this case. The Court dismissed the case.

 

New York et al. v. Pruitt
Subject: Existing oil and gas facilities
Date Filed: 4/5/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and District of Columbia; City of Chicago

Overview

On April 5, 2018, state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the EPA and EPA head Scott Pruitt, challenging delays in implementing a rule regulating emissions from existing oil and gas facilities. Once the EPA adopts a rule to limit emissions from new and modified facilities in a given industrial sector, which it did in 2016, it must establish guidelines for limiting emissions from existing facilities. Pruitt abruptly ordered the EPA to halt the process for establishing guidelines for existing oil and gas facilities in March 2017. The rule provides important protections for Washington’s residents against the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Existing oil and natural gas facilities will account for up to 90 percent of the total methane emissions by facilities in 2018. The case is currently pending in federal court.

 

California et al. v. EPA
Subject: Vehicle emissions
Date Filed: 5/1/18
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia

Overview

On May 1, 2018, Washington and 17 other states filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his decision to restart the approval process for vehicle emissions standards for car and light-duty truck models produced between 2022 and 2025. The standards ensure that new vehicles have better fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA had determined in January 2017 that these standards were viable for the auto industry, but Pruitt rescinded the standards without providing any evidence that invalidates the EPA’s 2017 determination. On Oct. 25, 2019, the court recognized the EPA has a high bar to overcome the extensive evidence supporting these standards. The panel held that “if EPA’s rulemaking results in changes to the existing 2012 standards, it will be required to provide a reasoned explanation and cannot ignore prior factual findings and the supporting record evidence contradicting the new policy." However, the panel held that EPA’s withdrawal of the midterm evaluation could not be challenged at this time because it is not a final decision and doesn’t have any legal effect. The court’s ruling just means the states will need to re-file their case when the EPA issues a final decision to roll back its clean car standards.”

 

California et al. v. Azar
Subject: Medicaid Act
Date Filed: 5/13/19
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington

Overview

On May 13, 2019, Washington and four other states filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), alleging HHS and its director, Secretary Alex Azar, are unlawfully attempting to reinterpret the Medicaid Act, disrupting well-established collective bargaining relationships authorized for decades by state labor laws. As part of its effort, HHS also repealed a federal rule that explicitly allowed states to deduct customary employee benefits and union dues from payments to workers in Medicaid home- and community-based services programs. Collectively, the states receive more than $6.5 billion in Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services. The case is currently pending in federal court.

 

California et al. v. EPA
Subject: Asbestos reporting
Date Filed: 6/28/19
Leading State(s): California, Massachusetts
Joining States: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, District of Columbia

Overview

On June 28, 2019, Washington joined 10 other Attorneys General to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking to force the EPA to establish rules concerning industry reporting requirements for asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Act. In January, Ferguson joined 14 other Attorneys General to petition the EPA to expand reporting of asbestos in manufacturing, importing and processing. In April, the EPA denied the petition, prompting the states’ lawsuit.

 

New York et al. v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Subject: Vehicle fuel economy standards penalty
Date Filed: 8/2/19
Leading State(s): New York, California
Joining States: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia

Overview

On Aug. 2, 2019, Washington joined 12 other attorneys general seeking review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on the Trump Administration’s decision to reduce penalties for automakers that fail to meet corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. The Trump Administration’s new rule violates the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act by repealing a rule adopted under the Obama Administration which imposed an inflation-adjusted penalty of $14 for every tenth of a mile-per-gallon that an automaker falls below the CAFE standards, reducing the penalty by more than half to $5.50 per tenth of a mile-per-gallon. The CAFÉ  penalties are an important tool to ensure car manufacturers continue to improve fuel efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants. If penalties are not adjusted for the cost of inflation, some manufacturers simply roll penalties into the cost of doing business rather than complying with the standards. 

 

New York et al. v. Wheeler
Subject: Pesticides
Date Filed: 8/7/19
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington

Overview

On Aug. 7, 2019, Washington joined five other attorneys general seeking review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the Trump Administration’s decision to deny the states’ objections and allow the continued use of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. The states, in addition to Hawaii and the District of Columbia, had previously intervened in a separate case seeking to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency completed its review of chlorpyrifos to protect farmworkers and those living in agricultural communities.

 

New York et al. v. EPA
Subject: Clean Power Plan repeal
Date Filed: 8/13/19
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers of Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and South Miami, Fla.

Overview

On August 13, 2019, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office and a coalition of 21 attorneys general and seven cities sought review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, which would not require significant carbon emission reductions.

According to the states’ petition for review, the repeal and replacement is a violation of the Clean Air Act. The new rule would result in an increase in air pollution compared to the Clean Power Plan. The EPA’s own analysis shows that the increased pollution will likely cause thousands more illnesses and deaths per year. In Washington state, the rule could cause an increase in carbon emissions, even more than if the EPA chose to repeal the Clean Power Plan and do nothing to replace it.

 

California v. McAleenan, et al.
Subject: Flores Agreement rule
Date Filed: 8/26/19
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Overview

On August 26, 2019, Washington and 19 other states filed a lawsuit challenging new Trump Administration rules that remove significant protections against the mistreatment of immigrant children and families apprehended at the U.S. border, allowing for their indefinite detention in facilities without adequate standards of care or state oversight.

The new rules, published August 23, 2019, override a longstanding court-approved settlement - known as the Flores Agreement - that governs the humane treatment of immigrant children in federal custody. The states' lawsuit asserts that the Trump Administration's new rules unlawfully permit federal officials to detain children and families in unlicensed facilities without adequate standards of care to protect the safety and well-being of immigrant children.

On Sept. 27, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee issued a permanent injunction in the original Flores case blocking the Administration from implementing its new rules. The states’ case, including a motion for an injunction and supporting declarations, was also pending before Judge Gee. In granting the injunction, Judge Gee agreed with many of the states’ arguments in their case.

 

California, et al. v. Chao, et al.
Subject: Vehicle emission standards
Date Filed: 9/20/19
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, as well as Los Angeles and New York City

Overview

On Sept. 20, 2019, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office and a multistate coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Trump Administration’s attempt to block Washington’s and other states’ ability to set more stringent vehicle emission standards. 

Washington and the states assert that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) exceeded its authority and violated Congress’ intent when it issued a regulation declaring that federal law prevents states from setting more stringent vehicle emission standards. Blocking these states’ ability to set stricter greenhouse gas vehicle emission standards would prohibit them from following any standards other than those set by the federal government, an action the states assert will increase greenhouse gas emissions, further exacerbating the impacts caused by climate change. 

 

California, et al. v. Bernhardt, et al.
Subject: Endangered Species Act rules
Date Filed: 9/25/2019
Leading State(s): California, Maryland and Massachusetts
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia and the City of New York

Overview

On Sept. 25, 2019, Washington, 17 states, the District of Columbia and the City of New York filed a lawsuit challenging Trump Administration rules that significantly undermine the Endangered Species Act, a cornerstone of national conservation law. The lawsuit argues that rules illegally and arbitrarily weaken essential protections in the Endangered Species Act and that the federal government failed to consider the environmental impacts of these changes in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Washington is home to 49 species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, including southern resident killer whales, pygmy rabbits, green sea turtles and several salmon species such as chinook, chum and sockeye. The new rules gut essential protections for these species by making it more difficult to protect their critical habitat, making it easier for federal agencies to take actions that may jeopardize species’ survival and recovery, and removing recovery as a key consideration in delisting a species. Three species in Washington — western pond turtles, wolverines and Island Marble butterflies — are candidate species, meaning they are under consideration for threatened or endangered status. These species, and others needing protections in the future, are more likely to be denied federal protection under the new rules.

 

New York v. Department of Energy, et al.
Subject: Energy Efficiency Standards for Lightbulbs
Date Filed: 11/4/19
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C.; City of New York

Overview

On Nov. 4, 2019, Washington joined 15 other attorneys general and the City of New York to file a petition for review with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging Department of Energy’s rollback of energy efficiency standards for lighbulbs. The rules would save consumers at least $12 billion in annual electricity costs, equal to nearly $100 per household. The rules would also reduce national annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34 million metric tons.

 

California et al. v. Wheeler et al.
Subject: Fuel Efficiency Standards Waiver
Date Filed: 11/15/19
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, District Of Columbia; City of Los Angeles, City of New York.

Overview

On Nov. 15, 2019, Washington and 23 other attorneys general and two cities filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver, which allows it to set vehicle emissions standards that are more stringent than the federal government’s. California’s stricter standards have been adopted in whole or part by Washington 12 other states.

 

New York et al. v. Wheeler et al.
Subject: Waters of the United States Rule
Date Filed: 12/20/19
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, District of Columbia; City Of New York.

Overview

On Dec. 20, 2019, Washington joined 14 other Attorneys General and the City of New York to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which defines the “waters of the United States.” The rule provides much-needed clarity about which waters qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. The EPA’s action would replace the rule with 1980s-era regulations. The “waters of the United States” rule applies the Clean Water Act to both navigable waters and upstream waters that impact the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable waters, providing uniformity for state and federal regulators and project managers alike.

In April of 2020, the Administration issued new final rules replacing the 2015 “waters of the United States” rule with regulations that will significantly reduce the number of water bodies around the United States that are protected under the Clean Water Act. As a result, on May 1, 2020, Washington joined a separate multistate lawsuit, California et al. v. Wheeler, challenging the new final rules.

 

New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Energy
Subject: Energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs
Date Filed: 02/25/2020
Leading State(s): New York, California
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York.

Overview

On Feb. 25, 2020, Washington joined a coalition of states and local governments to file a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit challenging the Trump Administration's failure to enact more stringent energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs. The Trump Administration’s decision halts energy efficiency improvements to a type of lightbulb known as “general service incandescent lamps,” ignoring direction from Congress to transition the nation to inexpensive, efficient and widely available lighting sources. The attorneys general assert that this unlawful decision would increase greenhouse gas emissions by millions of metric tons and cost consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025 — a $100 loss per household per year. 

 

New York et al. v. Scalia et al.
Subject: Joint Employer Rule
Date Filed: 02/26/2020
Leading State(s): New York, Pennsylvania
Joining States: California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, District of Columbia.

Overview

On Feb. 26, 2020, Washington joined a coalition of states challenge the U.S. Department of Labor’s joint employer rule, which makes it harder to find that large businesses are “joint employers” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This will likely harm workers’ ability to ensure employer compliance with minimum wage and overtime pay standards by potentially allowing large employers in a “joint employer” relationship to escape liability for wage violations.

 

California et al. v. U.S. Department of Energy
Subject: Energy Efficiency Process Rule
Date Filed: 04/14/2020
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia; City of New York

Overview

On April 14, 2020, Washington joined a coalition of 14 attorneys general and the City of New York to challenge the U.S. Department of Energy’s revisions to its energy conservation standards process rule. The rule ensures DOE meets an Energy Policy Conservation Act mandate to create energy conservation standards that benefit the public in a timely manner. The DOE's revisions create a number of roadblocks to the adoption of new standards and the review of existing standards, including setting an unreasonably high threshold for energy efficiency savings that would result in the unnecessary loss of significant energy savings.

 

California et al. v. Wheeler
Subject: Waters of the United States Rule
Date Filed: 05/1/2020
Leading State(s): California, New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C.; City of New York

Overview

On May 1, 2020, Washington joined 18 other attorneys general, and the City of New York, to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the Army Corps and Environmental Protection Agency’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States. The 2020 rule replaced a rule the agencies adopted in the Fall of 2019 to replace the 2015 “waters of the United States” rule with agency guidance dating back to the 1980s. The 2015 rule and prior agency guidance applied the Clean Water Act to both navigable waters and upstream waters that impact the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable waters, providing uniformity for state and federal regulators and project managers alike. The 2020 rule will significantly reduce the number of water bodies around the United States that are protected under the Clean Water Act.

 

New York et al. v. Wheeler
Subject: Hydroflourocarbons
Date Filed: 05/11/2020
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, District of Columbia; City of New York

Overview

On May 11, 2020, Washington joined 10 other attorneys general and the City of New York to file a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging EPA rules which roll back the federal government’s appliance-maintenance and leak-repair standards for substitute refrigerants, such as the climate super-pollutants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases with vastly more heat-trapping capacity than carbon dioxide. HFCs have already been phased out internationally. Washington state passed a law in 2019 to phase out many HFCs in the state. The states’ case was consolidated with a separate case, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Wheeler, on May 12, 2020.

 

California et al. v. EPA
Subject: Vehicle Emissions Standards
Date Filed: 05/27/2020
Leading State(s): California
Joining States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, The California Air Resources Board, the Cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Denver and the Counties of San Francisco and Denver

Overview

On May 27, 2020, Washington joined 27 other states and municipalities to file a lawsuit in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of federal emissions standards for cars and light-duty trucks. In 2012, the EPA, together with NHTSA, worked with stakeholders, including the auto industry, to set increasingly stringent standards for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles from model years 2017 through 2025. The Trump Administration now claims that the standards that his own agency had deemed viable in 2017 are no longer achievable for the auto industry, and relaxed the standards. In their final analysis, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration themselves determined that the new relaxed standards will increase air pollution and cause more air pollution-related deaths, as well as increased consumer costs due to driving less fuel-efficient vehicles.

 

Pennsylvania et al. v. DeVos
Subject: Title IX sexual assault rule
Date Filed: 6/04/2020
Leading State(s): Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California
Joining States: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia

Overview

On June 4, 2020, Washington joined 17 other attorneys general to file a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Education’s new rule on reporting sexual assault and harassment at schools and universities. The department’s new rule will chill reporting of sexual harassment and assault. The rule narrows the scope of harassment covered by Title IX. Under the new rule, conduct must be “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive.” Previously, the reports only needed to allege one of those characteristics. The rule also prohibits universities from investigating campus sexual assaults that occur at off-campus housing or study abroad programs.

 

Massachusetts et al. v. EPA et al.
Subject: Mercury & Air Toxics Standards
Date Filed: 7/20/20
Leading State(s): Massachusetts
Joining States: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia; cities of Baltimore, Chicago and New York, and Erie County

Overview

On July 20, 2020, Washington joined 20 other attorneys general to file a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rule reversing the agency’s determination — first made nearly 20 years ago — that it is “appropriate and necessary” under the Clean Air Act to regulate mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The new rule undermines the 2015 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a landmark rule that has substantially reduced emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants that harm human health and the environment, and that pose especially significant health risks to children and pregnant women.

 

New York et al. v. Trump et al.
Subject: Misuse of 2020 Census data for Congressional apportionment
Date Filed: 7/24/20
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, District of Columbia; cities of Seattle, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Central Falls and Providence, R.I., Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix, Ariz., and the city and county of San Francisco; Cameron, El Paso and Hidalgo counties in Texas, Monterey County in California.

Overview

On July 24, 2020, Washington joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general, 10 cities, including Seattle, and five counties to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging a presidential memorandum declaring President Donald Trump’s intent to exclude undocumented immigrants for the purposes of apportioning Congressional seats to the states. The apportionment, which is based on Census results, is required by the Fourteenth Amendment, which clearly states that “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State …” The lawsuit asserts that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment deliberately chose the phrase “whole number of persons” to refer to all persons living in each state — including the entire immigrant population. The president’s action could lead to the loss of state congressional seats and presidential electors in the Electoral College, skew state electoral districts, reduce federal funds to state and local jurisdictions and degrade the quality of census data that states and local jurisdictions rely on to perform critical governmental functions.

 

Cases Lost - Appealed or Could Be Appealed

New York et al. v. Department of Justice
Subject: Law enforcement grants
Date Filed: 7/18/18
Leading State(s): New York
Joining States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington

Overview

On July 18, 2018, Washington and five other states filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging the Department of Justice’s decision to restrict certain law enforcement grant funds only to those jurisdictions that assist the federal government with its civil immigration priorities. The government’s decision to condition the funds on whether states and localities provide access and information to federal immigration enforcement authorities jeopardizes nearly $3.3 million awarded to Washington state through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. The case is currently pending in federal court.

On Nov. 30, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos granted the states' motion for partial summary judgment, ruling that the Department of Justice's conditions on the grants were unlawful, and enjoined the department from imposing the conditions for the grants. The Department of Justice appealed the ruling to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. On Feb. 26, 2020 a three-judge panel overturned the District Court’s partial summary judgment ruling, and ordered the District Court to enter a ruling in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff states are reviewing the decision and considering next steps.

 

Cases Lost - Completed

None.