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Sean D. Reyes
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FanX Harassment Hotline

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to partner with FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention to bring a 24/7 harassment hotline to the 2018 conference this September.  This initiative follows in the footsteps of a similar successful effort at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. You can find the FanX press release here

Together, we hope to send a clear message to participants that bullying, abuse, assault, or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.

During the event, anyone witnessing a violation of the Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy should call the hotline. Reports will be routed to the AG’s Office for initial action and, if necessary, referred to the local police or FanX for further investigation. The hotline number is 1-801-834-1944. 

The AG’s Office applauds FanX and their efforts to ensure their events are safe and fun for all.

 

 


Oakland & San Francisco Climate Change Case Dismissed

Heads up. Our state was part of a significant victory for the separation of powers doctrine last week.  Fifteen states, including Utah, prevailed in their support of a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland against five energy companies. The lawsuit claimed that the companies, which produce fossil-fuels, were a “public nuisance” due to their contributions to global warming.  

In the brief, the states claimed the following:

  1. To permit federal adjudication of claims of abatement fund remedies would disrupt carefully calibrated state regulatory schemes devised by politically accountable officials.
  2. Federal courts should not use public nuisance theories to confound state and federal political branches’ legislative and administrative processes by establishing emissions policy…on a piecemeal, ad hoc, case-by-case basis under the aegis of federal common law.

Put simply, it means that cities and courts should not be able to dictate national energy policy through lawsuits. Rather, those decisions should stay within the appropriate governing agencies and legislative processes (such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act).

The states explicitly stated that exercising wise stewardship of resources and land is vitally important. Due to that importance, the processes and regulations put in place to accomplish that goal need to be done through the “process of cooperative federalism where the States work in tandem with EPA to administer the federal Clean Air Act.” 

In dismissing the lawsuit, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent finding that the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency’s corresponding authority to set emission standards have displaced federal common law nuisance claims pertaining to emissions. The district court also cited the separation of powers doctrine, stating that courts should exercise restraint in matters best left to other branches of government. 

You can read the brief by the coalition of states here, and the Order Granting Motion to Dismiss here.

To track the progress of the entire case, check out Columbia Law School’s climate change litigation site.

 

Photo: Karsten Wurth on Unsplash


ICYMI: Attorney General’s Office Week in Review

This week at the AG’s Office: an attorney becomes a judge, ICAC takes down another bad guy, homes get safer by clearing out prescription drugs, and much more. Here’s a quick list.  

ICAC Protects Your Children 
The ICAC Task Force serves a warrant against a man who had over 1,000 files of child porn on his laptop. He was charged with 10 felonies and is off the streets. 

AG Reyes Comments on POTUS Executive Order 
Attorney General Reyes reacted to the executive order that prohibited the separation of children from families at the border. 

Utah Receives $35 Million in Volkswagen Settlement
After years of work and negotiations, Utah receives restitution from Volkswagen.

Assistant AG Scott Davis Appointed as Judge by Governor Herbert
One of our own steps into a new chapter of service to the state, as a judge. We are proud to be a part of this story and legacy.

Walgreens & Regence Utah Partner to Provide Rx Drug Take Back Boxes 
Eight new Take Back boxes are available at various Walgreens across the state, thanks to a partnership between Regence Utah and Walgreens. Click the link for video in information from this week’s announcement.

Yale University Child Study Center Trains Utah Children Justice Center Clinicians
A trainer from the Yale Child Study Center spent two days in Utah training Children’s Justice Centers clinicians on a new, highly effective treatment program for children and families. 

Utah Helps Keep the Federal Government Accountable
In the Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission decision, the U.S. Supreme Court saw things Utah’s way.  

Utah AG Office Issues Opioid Litigation RFP
In the ongoing effort to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable, the AG issued a Request for Proposals seeking qualified law firms to help represent the state of Utah. 

Utah CJCs & the LDS Church Partner to Protect Children
For the fourth year in a row, the LDS Church donates a large gift to the Utah Children’s Justice Center program to help abused children get the treatment and justice they need. 

It was a busy week, but not at all atypical for the office.  Thanks for paying attention. 

Did you know? 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office employs over 500 people across the state including:

  • Lawyers
  • Paralegals
  • Law Enforcement Agents
  • Legal Secretaries
  • Victim Advocates
  • Accountants
  • Support Staff
  • IT Technicians
  • Law Clerks & Interns

Partners in Protecting Children: Utah CJCs & the LDS Church

Seeking justice on behalf of physically or sexually abused children and helping those children heal is the mission of the Utah Children’s Justice Centers Program. Protecting children is also a core mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Due to the intersection of vision, the partnership between the two organizations is a natural fit and a big reason why the LDS Church continues to support the CJC Program.

The CJC Program received $50,000 from the LDS Church this year, making it the fourth consecutive year the Church has given to the organization. Each year, the CJCs determine where the gift can have the greatest impact. The contribution this year will go to outlying and rural sites for the following:

  • To update interview recording equipment, a critical component of the CJC process;
  • Support renovations in several centers; and 
  • Help establish a victim advocate at the San Juan facility.

For more coverage on the LDS Church grant to Utah CJCs check out the links, below.

Deseret News: LDS women leaders present donation to prevent child abuse in Utah, Bolivia

KSL.com: LDS Church donates $75K to combat child abuse in Utah and Bolivia

Fox 13: LDS Church makes donation to Children’s Justice Center to aid abuse victims

KUER: Top Female Mormon Leaders Say Child Abuse Is Major Priority

KUTV: LDS Church donates to child abuse prevention charities at home and abroad

Mormon Newsroom: Church Donates to Child Abuse Prevention Organizations

LDS Living: LDS Female Church Leaders Donate $75,000 to Fight Child Abuse

The Utah Children’s Justice Program oversees 23 independently-run CJC sites that serve 28 counties throughout the state. Sites are designed with the comfort of the child in mind to provide a safe, friendly atmosphere for forensic interviews, medical examinations, and follow-up support services. For more information please contact the CJC closest to you


Opioid Litigation RFP

The Attorney General’s Office issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on Friday, June 22nd, seeking qualified law firms to submit proposals to represent the State of Utah in litigation concerning prescription opioids.  

You can access the RFP here: http://bids.sciquest.com/apps/Router/PublicEvent?CustomerOrg=StateOfUtah, or by following links on the Department of Purchasing’s website:  https://purchasing.utah.gov/.  

In either case, search for “BP18025.”  You can access the documents without registering with SciQuest, but you will need to register to submit a proposal.  At this point, all questions and communications must go through SciQuest (see section 1.5 of the RFP) unless otherwise stated in the RFP.  

This RFP will close on July 17, 2018.

The Office of the Attorney General appreciates your interest. You’ll remember that, in early May, we issued an RFI to gather information. Then at the end of May, we announced that the State of Utah had filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma in Carbon County, one of the counties hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. 

For a quick overview of this office’s work to end the opioid crisis, click here


Wherein the federal bureaucracy becomes a little more accountable

In the Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission decision last week, the Supreme Court of the United States held by a vote of 7-2 that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s administrative law judges are “inferior officers of the United States” for purposes of the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Utah and thirteen of our sister states filed an amicus brief urging the Court to reach that very decision due to important federalism concerns.

Bottom line

Because of this decision, states will be better able to hold our federal representatives accountable for the types of persons they install to make decisions affecting a broad array of state interests.

Why is this important?

Inferior officers of the United States exercise significant federal power. For example, the SEC’s ALJs have power to conduct trials, take evidence, and issue decisions affecting people’s ability to practice their profession and earn a living. The Appointments Clause allows States and other interested parties to hold the President and the Senate politically accountable for the types of persons they install to perform those important federal functions.

Lucia does not directly affect the States, since the States do not appear as parties in SEC adjudications. But Lucia has significant implications for other federal ALJs before whom States appear, such as ALJs in the Department of Interior. Lucia clarifies that if ALJs at DOI perform functions similar to the SEC’s ALJs, they too must accede to their offices in accordance with the Appointments Clause’s mandates. 

You can read Utah’s Amici Brief here, and find the entire U.S. Supreme Court opinion here

More on SCOTUSblog

Shout out to Utah’s Solicitor General, who led out and wrote the brief. 


Yale University Trains CJC Clinicians

YALE UNIVERSITY TRAINS UTAH CHILDREN JUSTICE CENTERS
National Children’s Alliance Selects Utah and Idaho as Grant Beneficiaries

SALT LAKE CITY – The Yale Child Study Center, a division of Yale University School of Medicine, spent two days in Utah training 19 Children’s Justice Centers clinicians that serve twelve counties. Utah was one of two states selected by the National Children’s Alliance, the parent organization of the Utah CJCs, for the training provided by a grant awarded by Cambia Health Foundation.

“We are very excited,” said Michelle Miller, the Project Coordinator for Mental Health Initiatives at National Children’s Alliance. “The Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention training has amazing results for kids and for caregivers. Not only do kids have reduced symptoms, but parents also have reduced trauma symptoms in about 5 to 8 sessions. We had a large project in the Carolinas and we’re excited to move this west and provide it for Utah.”

The National Children’s Alliance received $199,335 to implement the Child & Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) treatment program in Children’s Advocacy Centers, similar to CJCs, across the nation. This is a vital part of the aftercare, particularly to address the concern or myth that a child who suffers physical or sexual abuse will spend the rest of their lives suffering from the effects or in therapy.

“The Yale Child Study Center and NCA partnered to raise the standard of care for abused and traumatized children and their families and improve their access to effective treatment throughout the United States,” Carrie Epstein, the Director of Clinical Services and Training at the Yale Child Study Center, stated. “Sharing evidence-based trauma-focused mental health treatments like the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) is a critical step. We are excited to see this model introduced and implemented in Utah, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Children’s Justice Centers in Utah.”

Through research by the Yale Child Study Center, CFTSI is an evidence-based early intervention curriculum for children 7 to 18, researched and developed by the Yale Child Study Center, that reduces traumatic stress reaction and the onset of PTSD. Successfully used with children suffering from extensive trauma histories, the program’s implementation within 30-45 days for a traumatic event. The program evaluation conducted consistently showed a comparable reduction in symptoms. A randomized controlled trial completed at Yale in 2009 found that children receiving CFTSI:

  1. Were 65% less likely than comparison youth to meet criteria for full PTSD at three-month follow-up.
  2. Were 73% less likely than comparison youth to meet combined criteria for partial and full PTSD at the three-month follow-up.

Moving forward these clinicians will be mentored by leaders associated with Yale to help guide the implementation into caseload.

# # #

NOTES:

  1. You can find out more about CFTSI and its development here: https://medicine.yale.edu/childstudy/communitypartnerships/cvtc/cftsi/.  
  2. For more information on the National Children’s Alliance, go here: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/.
  3. If you are interested in the work of the Utah Children’s Justice Centers and how to support, you can find more information here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/childrens-justice-centers/.

Walgreens & Regence Utah Partner to Provide Drug Take Back Boxes

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes commended the partnership of Regence Utah and Walgreens at a press conference in Bountiful as they work to fight the opioid crisis across the state. Through their collaboration and combined efforts and resources, Regence Utah and Walgreens are providing Drug Take Back boxes at Walgreens pharmacy locations in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

“Walgreens’ program has successfully answered the questions ‘Will it make a difference?’ and ‘Can it be done?’ In two years, Walgreens has been instrumental in taking back over 540,000lbs of prescriptions drugs,” said Attorney General Reyes. “Where would those drugs be if it wasn’t for these Take Back programs and kiosks?  I’ll tell you where they’d be – they would be in our medicine cabinets, at skittling parties with neighborhood high school kids, on streets getting sold, or, sadly, they would be in the medical examiner’s evidence lab marking yet another death for Utahns.”

Watch a portion of the press conference here

Regence is sponsoring 38 kiosks in our four markets, including eight in Utah. The locations in Utah are as follows:

  • Provo (1315 N State St.)
  • West Jordan (7794 S Redwood Rd.)
  • Layton (1171 W. 200 N Antelope Dr.)
  • Draper (1311 E Draper Pkwy.)
  • Bountiful (515 S 500 W)
  • Salt Lake City (531 E 400 S, and 909 E 2100 S)
  • Taylorsville (4040 W 5415 S).

Due to the joint efforts with AmeisourceBergen, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pfizer, Prime Therapeutics, and Walgreens, an additional 900 disposal kiosks will be added at Walgreens across the country for a total footprint of about 1,500 stores, up from 600 locations today.

Regence’s Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Jim Polo said Regence was proud to partner with Walgreens in providing options for safe disposal. He went on, “This will take effort by everyone involved: hospitals, pharmacies, legislators, the community. It will take all of us to see a change.”

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, State Senator Todd Weiler, and State Representative Raymond Ward also expressed their support of the initiative, as well as officials from the City of Bountiful, the Salt Lake Metro Narcotics Task Force/DEA, Regence Utah, and Walgreens.

 


Assistant AG Scott Davis Appointed as Judge

The Utah Attorney General’s Office was proud to hear that our friend and colleague Assistant Attorney General Scott Davis has been appointed as a judge on the Fourth District Juvenile Court by Governor Herbert. 

In a press release announcing the appointment, the governor said, “I look forward to having Scott Davis’ expertise on the Fourth District Juvenile Court. His enduring dedication to juvenile and child welfare law make him an excellent candidate, and I fully trust he will serve our state well.”

We agree.

Davis received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Puget Sound.  During his time at the AG’s Office, Davis represented the Division of Child and Family Services. Before that, he served as an AAG with the Securities Division of the Department of Correction. He was also a civil and criminal defense lawyer for a number of firms and handled juvenile delinquency and child welfare cases for the State of Alaska’s District Attorney’s Office. 

Assistant Attorney General Alan Sevinson, Section Director for the Provo Child Protection office, shared the following:  

Scott Davis has been with the Utah Office of Attorney General since July 2007. He joined the Child Protection Division as the Deputy Division Director in May 2014 and has been a member of the Provo Child Protection Office since then. Scott has been a tremendous asset to the Child Protection Division and the Office of the Attorney General. His assortment of bow ties has brought smiles to the faces of many, as he artfully manages his high and demanding caseload.

Scott is as devoted to this office and his work as he is to his wife, Becky, his children and his grandchildren.  Scott has earned the love and respect of his co-workers and the client, and often takes time out of his busy schedule to listen, counsel and mentor whoever knocks on his door. He is fair, honest and humble. Scott’s passion for work in child protection has and will continue to serve the citizens of Utah and the Fourth District Court as Judge D. Scott Davis.

Juvenile and child welfare law has been Davis’ passion and focus during his 35-year career, and he is looking forward to a new season. 

Again, from the governor’s press release:

“I am humbled and grateful for the trust and confidence Governor Gary Herbert is extending in appointing me to serve on the Fourth District Court,” Davis said. “I am committed to compassionately, fairly, and justly applying the law in all cases in which I am involved. I pledge my best efforts in serving and helping children and families.”

We wish you all the best on your next endeavor, Scott. Good luck!

We also want to extend congratulations to Debra Jensen on her nomination to the bench in the Second District Juvenile Court. As a former Assistant Attorney General in our Human Services Division earlier in her career, its a privilege to have been a part of her journey and success. 


The Volkswagen Settlement

Over the last few years, attorneys in the White Collar & Commercial Enforcement and Environment Divisions of the AG’s Office have worked diligently on settlement negotiations for damage done by Volkswagen. From 2009 to 2015, VW sold more than 570,000 diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with a device that would allow them to circumvent emission standards testing. Volkswagen made false statements to consumers in their marketing, advertising these vehicles as “green” vehicles, knowing full well the vehicles emitted harmful nitrogen oxides at rates many times high than the current law permitted. 

Our work had two goals.

1) Protection of the consumer from harmful business practices and fraud;

2) Restitution for the effect the cars had on the local environment.

Two years ago, Assistant Attorney General and Section Director Tom Melton reached a settlement on behalf of the Division of Consumer Protection that totaled $7.5 million in funds to Utah. Those funds went to pay for environmentally safe school buses across the state. In addition, VW owners were justly compensated during the restitution and recall program here in Utah. Owners were part of a buy-back program as well as recipients of a restitution payment of at least $5,100.  You can read the original press release here, and the KSL story.

This week, Governor Herbert announced the receipt of an additional $35 million on behalf of the Utah Department of Environmental QualityAir Quality Division. Assistant Attorney General Connie Nakahara and Division Director Craig Anderson, of the Environment Division, worked hard to satisfy the requirements of the mitigation trust in order for Utah to be eligible for those funds. We are proud of all that they did in work and negotiations to reach a tremendous outcome. 

Congratulations to the agencies, administration, and assistant attorneys general for the great partnership and hard work that paid off for the State of Utah and its citizens.  

Recent articles:

Trib: Because VW tried to dodge pollution laws, Utah will get $35M to spend on low-emission vehicles
DesNews: Herbert approves spending plan for the VW settlement money
KUER: VW Emissions-Cheating Settlement Pays For Utah Air Quality Projects

For more information about the settlement funds, please visit the Utah DEQ’s Volkswagen pages, below. 

Volkswagen Settlement
Volkswagen Settlement to Reduce Emissions, Improve Utah Air


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