Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Jun 03 2016
Ferguson File Header

Bob Dear Friends,

The well-being of Washingtonians topped our agenda in May as the Attorney General’s Office tackled several significant cases and issues impacting community safety and public health.

We filed a major lawsuit to hold a health care giant accountable for deceiving the public about their dangerous products.  We also stepped up our ongoing efforts to protect Hanford workers.  And, we prevented the community release of a dangerous sexual predator in Eastern Washington.

In this issue:

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



Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General

Holding Johnson & Johnson accountable for misleading about the dangers of surgical mesh

Thousands of women have been deceived by healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, and many are now suffering from horrific injuries and debilitating complications associated with its surgical mesh products. 

Last week, my office filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, accusing the company of using deceptive marketing tactics to misinform consumers and doctors and conceal the risks associated with their surgical mesh implants used to treat prolapsed organs and pelvic floor conditions.

Johnson & Johnson knew for years that these mesh devices posed severe health risks and could cause devastating injuries and irreversible complicatio

ns.   They knew of women suffering from excruciating pain, chronic infections and severe disabilities.   They chose to keep that information from the public, putting the health of women at risk, and making it impossible for patients to make informed decisions about their health care. 

As the largest manufacturer of these mesh devices in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson sold nearly 12,000 in Washington over the past ten years.   Anyone experiencing problems with Johnson & Johnson mesh devices can contact investigator MaryBeth Haggerty Shaw at: MarybethH@atg.wa.gov.   
Johnson & Johnson misrepresented vaginal mesh with brutal side effects, WA says
State AG files lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over surgical mesh

How many sick Hanford workers will it take?  Still no answer from the feds

The health and safety of Hanford workers has been a problem for decades.  For over 20 years, workers have been getting sick from exposure to toxic vapors, and the federal government is still not doing enough to ensure their safety.   It is shameful that this problem has not been solved.

In October 2015, I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), alleging that hazardous tank vapors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation pose a serious risk to workers at the site. 
Since then, more Hanford workers have been exposed to toxic vapors. I have asked the federal government over and over again, how many sick Hanford workers will it take?  I am still waiting for an answer.  
Now I have called on President Obama and Energy Secretary Moniz to become personally involved in this issue.  I recently met with Hanford workers.  I am also exploring legal options to accelerate the lawsuit we filed last year and ensure the safety of our workers.  
If the federal government and its contractors won’t respond, a federal judge will answer for them.
For excellent coverage, check out this Susannah Frame story on KING 5:
Sick worker: “Hanford ruined my life”

AG prosecutors keep Grant County predator off the streets

The Attorney General’s Office plays an important

role in protecting our communities from sexually violent predators.  When the evidence shows an offender is still a danger to the community, my Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit takes legal action to ensure that person remains confined.
In May, my team secured the civil commitment of a sexually violent predator in Grant County.  Rickey Powell, 31, has been convicted of multiple crimes against children.  He was originally scheduled for community release in 2014. 
The release has more about the case, the law and the SVP Unit.

Working around Washington

Last month, I visited Rotary clubs in Toppenish and Yakima to discuss the work of the office.  My presentations at each club highlighted some of the major legal and legislative issues of the day, as well as updates on consumer issues affecting local communities.  

I also traveled to Spokane and spoke at the Gonzaga Law Commencement Ceremony, participated in our state’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony held in May each year at the Capitol, and spoke at the Wing Luke History Café series in Seattle.
Yakima Herald-Republic
State AG Ferguson:  My job is to protect Washingtonians
Student loan adjustment firms will refund students $162,000 in Washington state

Seattle Medium
AG Sweep Halts Illegal Actions By Student Loan Adjustors

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