In response, the Attorney General's Office said the companies' lawsuit is an attempt to interfere with the consumer protection lawsuits. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the outside attorneys and the companies' complaint doesn't challenge any of the circuit court's findings of fact, according to the office's response.
"Far from the extraordinary case that requires an extraordinary remedy, this case is little more than an effort by Petitioners to advance in the judicial system a policy issue that belongs before the Legislature," the response states.
Opponents of the outside counsel hiring practice accused McGraw of randomly picking attorneys without any bidding process. Newly elected Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently announced his office had implemented new procedures for hiring outside counsel.
The new policy requires the office to send out requests for proposals when private attorneys are needed.
The companies involved in the first lawsuit include Citigroup, Discover Financial Services, Bank of America, GE Money Bank, HSBC Card Services, and JP Morgan Chase.
Robert W. Trenchard of New York City-based WilmerHale made oral arguments on behalf of the companies, said Supreme Court spokesperson Jennifer Bundy. Dan Greear represented the Attorney General's Office, she said.
GlaxoSmithKline is appealing the ruling of Wayne County Circuit Judge James Young in a similar lawsuit. Greear is also representing the attorney general in that case. Bundy said Michael Farrell of Huntington-based Farrell, White and Legg was representing the health care company.
Beth Ryan, attorney general spokeswoman, said the office does not comment on pending litigation. A representative for GlaxoSmithKline said the same.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the case by June 19, the end of its current session.