Cohen Milstein’s Public Client Practice is a litigation and counseling practice dedicated to meeting the needs of state, county and local governments. Given limited government budgets and a growing list of harms to the public, we assist public clients in protecting consumers, patients, workers and public funds. Our clients are largely state Attorneys General and other state agencies that hire us as outside counsel to leverage their own resources or to provide specialized expertise.

Our Practice

We have assisted public clients in litigating landmark consumer fraud cases against many of the largest financial services, health care and other companies in the United States. While many of our representations are confidential investigations, some of our cases are matters of public record.  We have represented multiple public clients in civil law enforcement investigations aimed at the fraudulent lending practices that led to the financial crisis in 2008. We represented Mississippi in the landmark consumer fraud lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s over the misrepresentation of its business model responsible for mortgage-backed securities, which resulted in a $1.375 billion global settlement for 19 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Department of Justice. We represented the state of Nevada in a consumer fraud lawsuit against Bank of America over the servicing of approximately one-half million mortgages, securing financial payments, commitments to mortgage modifications and other relief valued at nearly $1 billion.  Most recently, we secured an $800 million resolution for the United States Virgin Islands in connection with an enforcement action against Hess Oil for failing to meet its economic commitments and for violating environmental laws. 

Cohen Milstein does not make financial contributions to attorney general campaigns.

Our People

Our attorneys understand firsthand the needs of public clients. Many have spent much of their careers in public service or in the not-for-profit sector:

  • The head of the practice group is a former attorney general for the District of Columbia.
  • Other lawyers bring with them extensive government service as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to a state attorney general.
  • Some have worked at national public interest groups, prosecuting high profile constitutional civil rights and impact litigation, and at consumer advocacy organizations, developing legislative and regulatory campaigns on such issues as automobile safety and trade policy.

Other members of the practice bring their experience in having represented defendants in complex matters, adding valuable insights to our approach to investigations and litigation.

Our Cases

Currently, our Practice represents public clients in the following high-profile matters:

  • Prescription Painkillers: Represent the City of Chicago and Santa Clara County Counsel in litigation relating to the deceptive marketing of highly addictive opioid prescription painkillers. 
  • Credit Bureaus: Represent the Mississippi Attorney General in litigation and investigations related to violations of state and federal law by the national credit reporting bureaus in failing to take adequate measures to prevent error-riddled data from appearing in the credit files of millions of consumers, jeopardizing their ability to obtain access to credit and employment. 
  • Nursing Homes: Represent several attorneys general in litigation and investigations related to deceptive marketing and false claims by numerous for-profit nursing home chains that promised and billed for, but failed to provide, basic care to their elderly residents.
  • Ratings Agency: Represent the state of Mississippi in litigation against Moody’s for misrepresenting its analytical services related to mortgage-backed securities as independent and objective.
  • Energy Drink: The state of Hawaii in its litigation against Living Essentials, Inc., the creator of 5-Hour ENERGY, for misrepresenting the benefits of drinking its so-called “liquid energy shot.”