Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Feb 20 2020

The Ferguson File a monthly e-newsletter from attorney general bob ferguson

attorney general bob fergusonDear Friends,

We hit the ground running this New Year. My office was busy holding another opioid manufacturer accountable for their part in the opioid epidemic. We are also fighting to get restitution for unlawfully denied charity care patients and further protect Washingtonian’s right to unbiased, affordable healthcare.

My office won a major victory in protecting Washington waters and marine life from careless pollution from the U.S. Navy’s ship scraping, and held the federal government responsible for cleanup of the waters they polluted. We are also committed to keeping Washingtonians safe from the Trump Administration’s continued attempts to allow the release of 3D-printed gun files on the internet.

We will continue to seek justice and protect the health and safety of all the people in Washington State.

In this issue:

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

Sincerely,

bob signature

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Johnson and Johnson press conference

I filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over their part in the state’s opioid epidemic. Johnson & Johnson must be held responsible for the key role they played in manufacturing, selling, and driving the healthcare industry to vastly expand the use of prescription opioids. For over twenty years, Johnson & Johnson cultivated and processed opium poppy plants and used their raw materials to manufacture the active ingredients necessary to produce opioid drugs like oxycodone. Aside from using these raw materials to produce their own opioid drugs, they also sold the active ingredients to other major opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma. Johnson & Johnson used an aggressive and deceptive marketing campaign to overstate the effectiveness of their drugs for treating pain long-term while also understating the risk of addiction.

Their actions have resulted in the deaths of Washingtonians, torn apart Washington families, overburdened our healthcare system and caused an epidemic of addiction we are struggling to contain. I will continue to fight for the health and safety of all Washingtonians, and continue to develop request legislation to curb and contain this epidemic. To read more about this lawsuit, click here.
 

K5 News

Washington AG files lawsuit against opioid supplier Johnson & Johnson

HeraldNet

State sues Johnson & Johnson, claims it fueled opioid epidemic

MyNorthwest

Washington AG targets ‘prolific supplier’ Johnson & Johnson in opioid lawsuit
 


King 5 interview with AG Ferguson

Following my lawsuit, Capital Medical Center must provide full restitution and debt relief to patients unlawfully denied access or not informed of their right to charity care in violation of state laws. I am requiring Capital Medical Center to provide at least $250,000 in refunds to patients who were unlawfully denied access to charity care. I am also requiring Capital to provide more than $131,000 in debt relief to all patients who still owe Capital for treatment from 2012 to 2016, regardless of income.

It is illegal and unfair that patients entitled to charity care under state law were forced to incur debt or cancel important procedures because of Capital’s greed. This resolution holds Capital accountable and ensures the hospital will provide relief to the low-income patients they harmed. To read more about this lawsuit, see our press release here.

King5 News

Thurston County medical center owes patients thousands of dollars in restitutions

 


 

3D printed guns

I am leading a multistate lawsuit challenging the Trump Adminsitration’s latest effort to allow the release of 3D-printed ghost gun files on the internet. We already defeated the Trump Administration’s first unlawful attempt to allow for the dissemination of printable ghost guns on the internet. The Trump administration acknowledged the dangers posed by these printable ghost guns and that their ease of access and undetecable means of production present a grave concern for the United States. The Trump adminstration even acknowledged that regulating the distribution of 3D-printed gun files does no violate the First or Second Amendments - this is one of the rare instances where I agree with him and his administration. A hearing is scheduled on February 28th regarding the Trump administrations most recent effort to allow release of 3D-printed guns.

We will continue to stand up against this unlawful, dangerous policy. To read more about our fight against the release of 3D-printed gun files, click here.

GeekWire.com

States claim Trump’s new firearm rules allow spread of 3D printed gun blueprints online

AP News

Coalition of states sue over rules governing 3-D-printed guns

 


 

Naval ship scraping resolution

Victory for the Puget Sound as the U.S. Navy signed a court order this month following a coalition lawsuit filed by my office, the Suquamish Tribe, the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and the Washington Enviromental Council. The lawsuit followed the Navy’s 2017 effort to  scrape marine debris off the hull of the ex-U.S.S. Independence, a 60,000 ton, decomissioned aircraft carrier, releasing about 73 dump truck loads of toxic materials – like copper and zinc – into the Sinclair Inlet near Bremerton.

The court order requires the Navy to stop scraping the hulls of decommissioned ships in the inlet and requires them to do all hull cleaning in a dry dock. The Navy must also begin a multi-million dollar project to reverse the enviromental damage done by the toxic debris released, as well as reimburse the fees incurred by my office and other plantiffs.

The Navy’s reckless actions endangered Washington’s beautiful and diverse marine life. I will continue to prioritize the protection of our enviroment and the safety and health of all Washingtonians. To read more about this lawsuit, click here.

MyNorthwest

Navy to cease scraping ship hulls in Puget Sound after AG lawsuit

Seattlepi.com

Navy will stop scraping ship hulls and polluting Puget Sound


 

Check signing

I filed a lawsuit against another Trump Adminsitration attempt to erode access to health care with a rule requiring health insurance companies to send consumers two separate bills for monthly insurance premiums: one for abortion coverage – often as little as one dollar – and another for all other coverage. This unlawful rule causes unnecessary confusion for consumers, who may inadvertently fail to pay their premiums in full, assuming the separate bill for a small portion of their monthly premium is a scam, part of a bill already paid, or a fee that doesn’t apply to them.

I refuse to allow this transparent attack on reproductive care that simultaneously jeopardizes health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians go unchallenged. We will continue to defend the right to unbiased, affordable health care. For more information, click here.


 

Bob at podium in Capitol Rotunda

Working across Washington

  • One of my goals as Attorney General has been to visit every Rotary Club in the state. After visiting all the Rotary Clubs east of the mountains last year, I visited the Bellevue Eastside Rotary Club to start the New Year. I am one step closer to achieving my goal. I enjoy the opportunity to speak to community members and hear about the issues they face. I also discussed some of the diverse work my office does to protect Washingtonians. I look forward to visiting more Rotary Clubs this year.
     
  • I was invited to give a keynote address at the East King County Chambers Coalition Legislative Breakfast. I spoke about encouraging conversation to bridge the divide in our politics. I also spoke to the role my office plays on behalf of our state, the legislative agenda of my office this session, as well as the devastating impact opioids are having on our state and what we are doing to contain this epidemic.
     
  • I was proud to speak as the swearing in ceremony for Satpal Sidhu as Whatcom County Executive. At the ceremony, we celebrated the growth of the Sikh community over the last decade in Whatcom County, despite the ugly history of racism and violence in early 20th century Bellingham. The election of Satpal brings a century of Whatcom County history full circle. It warms my heart to see Whatcom County, along with our state government, our Supreme Court, and many other local governments grow more diverse, better reflecting the incredible diversity of Washington State.

 

  • I spoke to pediatricians and other pediatric health care professionals at the American Academy of Pediatrics Advocacy Day. I spoke about our office’s commitment to protecting Washington children and young adults. More specifically, my request legislation in support of Tobacco 21 and our offices other efforts of reducing vaping, as well as my request to end youth solitary confinement. Additionally, I spoke about my office’s child welfare caseload and my request for additional funding to help children in dependency and termination cases find safe and permanent homes more quickly.
     
  • I had the great opportunity of speaking at the Wenatchee Women’s March. I shared my obligation to securing women’s rights and protecting those rights against assault by the Trump Administration. One example: my office obtained an injunction blocking the attempts to allow broad “moral” objections by companies in order to refuse coverage of contraceptives. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld our injunction in October of 2019.
     
  • I spoke to Mom’s Rising in the state Legislative building alongside Governor Inslee. I spoke about the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which is legislation Governor Inslee and myself have requested this session. This bill aims to safeguard against exploitative dynamics that exist in domestic service employment relationships, such as retaliation on the worker for reporting harassment and threats regarding workers’ immigration status. I see an absence of protections for domestic workers, and I am dedicated to protecting all Washingtonians especially those struggling to have their voice heard.

 

 
 

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