CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's Supreme Court is making clear that the state attorney general can hire private lawyers to pursue cases.
Tuesday's unanimous ruling sets several legal precedents in upholding the power to appoint special assistant attorneys general.
An array of corporate defendants had asked the court to rule otherwise. Most are banking and finance firms sued in Mason County over credit card service plans. GlaxoSmithKline also objected in a Wayne County consumer protection case targeting its marketing of the diabetes drug Avandi.
The decision written by Justice Robin Davis also rejects arguments against the fee arrangements for these outside hires. The ruling concludes that the losing opponent can directly pay these special assistants, with the presiding court's approval.
Circuit Judge Fred Fox sat in for a disqualified Justice Menis Ketchum.