California Supreme Court
In County of Santa Clara v. ARCO, the California Court of Appeal held that government plaintiffs may retain private outside counsel on a contingent fee basis to pursue public nuisance claims against product manufacturers. This decision will enable private attorneys with a profit motive to prosecute purely public claims under the police power of the state, and make it easier for local government in California to assert the public nuisance theory as a means of transferring the cost of environmental cleanup and remedial health care programs to the private sector.
Status: DECIDED. NFIB amicus brief filed in support of petition for review on 06/06/08. Amicus brief on the merits filed 04/23/09. Appeals Court decision upheld.