State & Local Government

State and local governments have a fundamental responsibility to provide for the welfare of the public. The ability of governments to serve and protect its residents, however, is threatened by the combination of lower revenues and rising costs. Government budget shortfalls are increasing in part because private companies externalize costs. Corporate profits grow, but often at the expense of the public interest.

When corporations cause public harms and refuse to pay their fair share, governments must undertake enforcement actions that put more pressure on already constrained resources. Many local governments, outmanned and outgunned in the battle to rein in corporate wrongdoing, are turning to support from private law firms.

Milberg’s State & Local Government Practice Group

In our proud tradition of effectuating meaningful change through litigation, Milberg partners with state and local governments, including cities and counties, to address the harms facing its residents.

Our State & Local Government Practice Group attorneys have achieved success against some of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations, including drug companies, tobacco companies, mining companies, and oil and gas companies. As a global practice, Milberg is well-positioned to represent public clients both in the United States and internationally.

Focus Areas of State & Local Government Practice

Impact Fees

Impact fees are one-time charges local governments levy on property developers to accommodate new growth infrastructure costs.

Impact fees go by many names, including development fees, mitigation fees, recreation fees, mobility fees, system development fees, and service availability charges. They are charged to property developers to defray part of the cost of building or improving public infrastructure—such as roadways, sewer, schools, police, fire, and recreation areas—needed to service a new development.

Milberg represents clients in matters involving unauthorized or unfair impact fee charges. Our attorneys have held leadership roles in class action lawsuits that have recovered tens of millions of dollars for builders and developers illegally charged impact fees.

Utility Fees

Milberg represents individuals and companies in fighting against unlawful or excessive energy rates charged by public and private utilities.

For example, Milberg has brought class action lawsuits against several large energy service companies (“ESCOs”) for unlawful contract-renewal term electricity and natural gas rates charged to customers that were exorbitantly more than the market rate for energy.

Milberg also has filed a class action lawsuit against Consolidated Edison of New York, which supplies energy for all of New York City, for refunds of excessive natural gas rates charged to certain residential customers. Milberg is equipped to represent individuals and companies wronged by the unfair acts of utilities providers throughout the country.

Opioids and Pharmaceutical Drugs

The opioid crisis has cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. A large percentage of the cost is borne by local governments in the forms of health care, substance abuse treatment, criminal justice, judicial services, lost revenue, and litigation.

Milberg attorneys have advised states, counties, cities, and municipalities on opioid litigation. Previously, the firm also participated in several successful litigations for municipalities and unions seeking reimbursement of costs associated with pharmaceutical wrongful advertising and other abuses.

JUUL

Big Tobacco litigation is a landmark example of private law firms assisting state Attorneys General and local municipalities in the fight to hold corporations accountable for compromising public health. The recoveries from tobacco lawsuits helped to fund anti-smoking campaigns that dramatically reduced tobacco use across the country, particularly among young people. But this progress has come to an end in recent years due to the youth vaping epidemic brought on by JUUL Labs, Inc.

Milberg is helping communities fight back against this new era of tobacco addiction, raising awareness of the addiction epidemic and soliciting recovery damages for schools, municipalities, states, and government agencies. Our attorneys are pursuing damages to cover anti-addiction programs, PSA campaigns, and devices installed in schools and other youth facilities to monitor and prevent teenage e-cigarette abuse.

Notable Cases & Recent Recoveries

  • Deadalus, LLC v. City of Charlotte – Class action settlement with a $106 million fund for builders and developers over improper capacity fees paid to the City of Charlotte (2023).
  • Plantation Building of Wilmington, Inc., et al. v. Brunswick County – Class action settlement with a $15.25 million fund for builders and developers to recover improper impact fees paid to the city (2022).
  • Upright Builders Inc. et al. v. Town of Apex – Class action settlement with a $15.3 million fund for builders and developers to recover improper capacity replacement and transportation paid fees to the town (2019).
  • Town of Holly Springs – Class action settlement with a $7.9 million fund for builders and developers to recover improper capacity replacement and transportation fees paid to the town (2019).
  • Plantation Building of Wilmington, Inc. v. Town of Leland, Brunswick County – Class action settlement with a $6+ million fund for builders and developers to recover improper impact fees paid to the city (2022).
  • Mayfair Partners, LLC et al. v. City of Asheville – Class action settlement with a $1.85 million fund for builders and developers to recover improper impact fees paid to the city (2020).