On March 1, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed suit against Energy Acquisitions Group LLC (EAG), seeking compliance with a Special Assistant Attorneys General’s (SPAAG) investigative subpoena concerning deceptive business practices of the alternative retail energy supplier industry (ARES). AG Raoul strives to bar EAG from conducting business in the state of Illinois — at the very least until EAG complies with the subpoena.
According to the lawsuit, EAG markets and advertises alternative electrical supply services to consumers since Illinois law permits consumers to purchase energy from alternative providers. Illinois launched an investigation into whether ARES businesses engaged in unlawful practices under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and issued EAG an investigative subpoena to gather information about the ARES industry. The complaint claimed that EAG’s CEO refused to cooperate with the subpoena because EAG would not “open ourselves up to a lawsuit that we are not involved in” and also contested SPAAG’s authority to conduct the investigation. After lengthy communications between the parties, AG Raoul’s office concluded that EAG failed to comply with the subpoena, forcing the office to use its statutory powers to file a lawsuit to: (1) compel compliance with the subpoena; (2) restrain EAG from conducting business in Illinois; (3) revoke or suspend EAG’s corporate charter; and (4) obligate EAG to pay investigative prosecution costs until EAG complies.
Why It Matters
Since companies frequently receive investigative subpoenas from AGs’ offices, it’s important to remember that these subpoenas (also referred to as a civil investigative demands or CIDs) carry the full force and effect of the law — just like subpoenas in criminal or civil litigations. AG Raoul’s lawsuit against EAG serves to remind all companies that ignoring or refusing to comply with an investigative subpoena can result in drastic consequences, including preventing companies from temporarily or permanently conducting business within the state and paying AGs’ legal fees for compelling compliance with the investigative process. A such, properly negotiating these subpoenas to avoid litigation is paramount to minimizing the risk and burden on companies receiving them.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
As a former government official at the state and federal level, Ketan leverages extensive experience in the public and private sectors to skillfully represent client interests.
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.