Arizona plans to sue Theranos over faulty blood tests

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is soliciting outside legal counsel to pursue a consumer fraud lawsuit against the beleaguered blood testing startup Theranos, according to a document posted on the state’s procurement website.

Brnovich has so far declined to comment on any action, but the document contends Theranos may have defrauded customers in the state and the office is now seeking proposals to assist it in possible legal action “against Theranos, Inc. and its closely related subsidiaries for violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act arising out of Theranos Inc.’s long-running scheme of deceptive acts and misrepresentations relating to the capabilities and operation of Theranos blood testing equipment.”

Theranos has so far not responded to our request for comment. However, Theranos ran its consumer portion of the business in Arizona and even worked with the state government to change laws allowing consumers to request blood tests without a doctor’s permission. But, as the document cites, a myriad bad test results, including those raised in a series of Wall Street Journal articles, raised concerns with the attorney general’s office.

The state’s possible legal action against Theranos would seek both civil penalties and restitution but wouldn’t be the first to file charges against the startup as Theranos is currently facing a growing number of consumer and investor lawsuits. Walgreens, Theranos’ former partner in the state, is also suing the company. However, Arizona’s suit would be the first from a government institution.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was banned from operating in her own labs last year and the company was forced to shut down its Newark, California lab after federal regulators believed the operation to be a hazard to public safety.

Meanwhile, Theranos has recently laid off 41 percent of its workforce and has switched focus away from testing centers to the creation of a “miniLab.”