November 13, 2019

Hot Topics in State & Local Government Law

Antitrust

  • 10.17.19Mississippi Attorney General Reaches Agreement with Wireless Network Provider Over Merger
    Mississippi AG Jim Hood reached an agreement with T-Mobile US, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) and Sprint Corporation (“Sprint”) to resolve antitrust concerns related to the companies’ merger.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.12.1950 Attorneys General to Investigate Tech Company Over Advertising and Search Engine Practices
    50 AGs, led by Texas AG Ken Paxton, announced an investigation into Google over allegedly anticompetitive behavior in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.05.19FTC Settles with Investment Advisor and Funds Over Alleged Violation of Premerger Notification and Waiting Period Requirements
    The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") settled with investment advisor Third Point LLC and three funds it controls—Third Point Partners Qualified L.P., Third Point Ultra Ltd., and Third Point Offshore Fund, Ltd.—(collectively, "Third Point") over allegations that it failed to file premerger notifications and observe waiting period requirements in violation of the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 ("HSR Act").
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 05.31.19Justice Dept. is preparing an antitrust investigation of Google, people familiar with the matter say
    The probe is likely to examine Google's search and advertising businesses, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because such inquiries are confidential.
    Read more from The Washington Post

Cannabis

  • 10.24.19FTC and FDA Issue Joint Warning Letter to CBD Retailer About Allegedly Unsubstantiated Health Claims
    The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a joint warning letter to Rooted Apothecary, LLC (“Rooted Apothecary”) for allegedly violating the FTC Act by advertising its cannabidiol (“CBD”) products with unsubstantiated health claims and for allegedly violating the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act by misbranding the same products.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.19Bipartisan Coalition of 21 Attorneys General Pen Letter to Congress in Support of Cannabis Banking Bill
    A bipartisan coalition of 21 AGs, led by District of Columbia AG Karl Racine, sent a letter to congressional leaders in support of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (“STATES”) Act, S.B. 1028/H.R. 2093, or similar legislation, to allow cannabis-related businesses access to the banking system.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 07.25.19Bipartisan Coalition of 37 Attorneys General Submits Comment to FDA Regarding Cannabis Products
    The National Association of Attorneys General ("NAAG") submitted a comment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), signed by a bipartisan coalition of 37 AGs led by District of Columbia AG Karl Racine and Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter, in response to the FDA's request for comments on the safety, manufacturing, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.
    Source: State AG Report

  • 07.14.19Iowa Attorney General Issues Statement on Legality of Hemp and Cannabidiol Products
    Iowa AG Tom Miller issued a statement regarding the legality of hemp and cannabidiol ("CBD") products under state law after Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 legalizing CBD derived from industrial hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC") concentration of not more than .3%, and the Iowa legislature enacted the Iowa Hemp Act, which will allow for the production of hemp in the state after the state's plan receives U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") approval.

Charities

  • 09.26.19California Attorney General Obtains Orders Against Charities to Cease and Desist Allegedly Deceptive Solicitations
    California AG Xavier Becerra obtained administrative orders against charities Catholic Medical Mission Board, Inc., Food for the Poor, Inc., and MAP International over allegedly deceptive solicitation tactics in violation of state charities laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 06.07.19California Attorney General Sues International Assistance Charity Over Allegedly Misleading Reporting Scheme and Deceptive Solicitations
    California AG Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against international assistance charity Aid for Starving Children and related individuals (collectively, “ASC”) to resolve allegations that it filed misleading public reports and deceived donors about the intended use of charitable donations in violation of state laws governing reporting by charities.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 05.30.19New York Attorney General Settles With Fraternal Order Over Allegedly Misusing Charitable Funds
    New York AG Letitia James reached a settlement with Oneonta Lodge No. 1312 Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Inc. (“Oneonta Elks”) to resolve allegations that it misused charitable funds in violation of state laws governing charities.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Consumer Financial Protection

  • 10.17.19CFPB Announces Formation of Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) is forming a “Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law” (“Taskforce”), which will examine the current federal laws and regulations facing consumers and providers of financial services, in order to provide recommendations to Director Kathleen Kraninger for the modernization and harmonization of such laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.1928 Attorneys General Submit Comment Regarding CFPB Proposed Debt Collection Practices Rule
    Twenty-eight Attorneys General, led by California AG Xavier Becerra, submitted a comment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) in response to the CFPB’s proposed rule regarding debt collection practices (“Debt Collection Practices Rule”).
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 08.05.19Attorney General James Leads 25 State Attorneys General In Fighting Against Debit Card Overdraft Fees
    Twenty-five attorneys general opposed any effort by the CFPB to roll back or limit its Overdraft Rule.
    Source: NY Attorney General

Consumer Protection

  • 11.07.19Missouri Attorney General Sues Telemarketer for Allegedly Calling No-Call List Registrants
    Missouri AG Eric Schmitt filed suit against a telemarketing company Allied Health Supply LLC and its president (collectively “Allied”) for allegedly calling Missouri residents who were on the state’s No-Call list in violation of Missouri’s No-Call Law.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.24.1942 Attorneys General Reach Settlement with Medical Device Company Over Allegedly Deceptive Advertising of Transvaginal Mesh Devices
    Forty-two AGs, including Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, reached a settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. (collectively “Ethicon”) to resolve allegations that they engaged in deceptive marketing regarding its transvaginal surgical mesh devices in violation of state consumer protection laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 11.07.19FTC Sues Multi-Level Marketer for Allegedly Operating as an Illegal Pyramid Scheme and Falsely Marketing Supplements
    The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed suit against supplement and skincare multi-level marketing company Neora, LLC and its CEO (collectively, “Neora”) and related companies Signum Biosciences, Inc. and Signum Nutralogix (collectively, “Signum”) alleging that Neora violated the FTC Act by operating as an illegal pyramid scheme and all parties violated the same law by falsely marketing brain health supplements.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.24.1930 Attorneys General Pen Letter to Secretary of Education Urging Relief for Student Borrowers of Closed Schools
    A bipartisan coalition of 30 AGs, led by Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum and Minnesota AG Keith Ellison, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to request that she take immediate action to extend the time available for student borrowers who were enrolled in schools operated by Dream Center Education Holdings, LLC (“DCEH”) to discharge their federal student loans under the “closed school discharge” rule, which allows student borrowers to discharge 100% of certain federal student loans if they were unable to complete their programs because their schools closed.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.24.19FTC Settles with Marketing and Cosmetics Companies Over Allegedly Deceptive Online Marketing Practices
    The FTC reached separate settlements with Devumi LLC and its owner (collectively, “Devumi”) and Sunday Riley Modern Skincare, LLC and its CEO (collectively, “Sunday Riley”) relating to the alleged use of deceptive and untrue information in online marketing.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.03.19FTC Files Lawsuit Against Online Dating Service Operator Over Alleged Fraud
    The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Match Group, Inc.—which operates Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, and other online dating services—over alleged deceptive advertising, consumer exposure to fraud, and other unfair practices in violation of the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”).
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.19California Attorney General Settles with Nutrition Company Over Alleged Failure to Warn of Harmful Ingredients
    California AG Xavier Becerra reached a settlement with nutrition company Grass Advantage, LLC d/b/a Amazing Grass, over allegations that it sold and distributed products without required warnings for products containing excessive levels of chemicals known to cause reproductive harm or cancer in violation of the state’s Proposition 65 law, Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.19New York Attorney General Issues Cease and Desist Letters to “Ghost Gun” Sellers and Manufacturers
    New York AG Letitia James issued cease and desist letters to 16 sellers of “ghost guns”—partially assembled guns that are sold with the parts needed to create a fully-operational firearm—in violation of the state assault weapon ban and consumer protection laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.19FTC Settles with Organic Retailer Over Allegedly Deceptive Advertising
    The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) reached a settlement with Truly Organic Inc. and its founder (collectively, “Truly Organic”) over allegations that it deceptively marketed products as organic and vegan in violation of the FTC Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.12.19FTC Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against Cosmetic and Dietary Supplement Company Over Allegedly Deceptive Free Trial Offers and Subscriptions
    The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) obtained a preliminary injunction AH Media Group, LLC and its owners (collectively, “AH Media”) over allegations that it sold cosmetics and dietary supplements online through deceptive “free trial” offers and ongoing monthly subscriptions in violation of the FTC Act, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”), and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 08.29.1951 Attorneys General Submit Comments to FCC Supporting Proposed Enhanced Caller ID Rules, Partner with 12 Telecommunications Companies to Issue Anti-Robocall Principles
    51 AGs, led by North Carolina AG Josh Stein, New Hampshire AG Gordon MacDonald, and Indiana AG Curtis Hill, partnered with 12 telecommunications companies who agreed to adopt eight principles to address illegal robocalls.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 08.29.19New York Attorney General Settles with Retail Chains Over Alleged Sale of Expired Products and Violation of Bottle Deposit Law
    New York AG Letitia James reached settlements with retail chains Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Dollar Tree's subsidiary Family Dollar, over allegations that the stores sold expired products in violation of state law regulating sale of over-the-counter drugs and that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar violated the New York bottle deposit law.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 07.29.19U.S. Attorney's Office Continues to Promote Elder Justice Initiative by Partnering with Meals on Wheels
    The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina continues to promote the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) throughout the Wake County area. On July 22, 2019, the Eastern District partnered with Meals on Wheels in Wake County to conduct Phase II of its outreach to approximately 1,300 seniors in the area to raise awareness about DOJ's Elder Justice Initiative and provide facts about financial exploitation and how seniors can protect themselves from falling victim.
    Source: Justice.gov

  • 07.29.19CONSUMER ALERT: Tech Support Scammers Target Seniors
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert with tips to help consumers identify, avoid and report online tech support scams.
    Source: FL Attorney General

  • 07.24.19AG Shapiro Announces Relief for 80,000 Pennsylvanians Targeted by Online Payday Loan Scheme
    Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement with Think Finance, a national online payday lender, and an associated private equity firm for allegedly engineering a $133 million illegal online payday loan scheme that targeted as many as 80,000 Pennsylvania consumers.
    Source: PA Attorney General

  • 07.23.19Consumer Protection Unit Reaches Settlement Over Foreclosure Rescue Scam
    Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced that the Department of Justice's Consumer Protection Unit has reached a settlement with two California-based companies requiring them to stop advertising and selling mortgage loan modification and debt relief services in Delaware and to provide restitution to Delaware consumers.
    Source: State of Delaware

  • 07.23.19AG Peterson Sues Hilton on Behalf of Nebraska Consumers
    Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit against Hilton, a multinational hotel company, for allegedly hiding the true price of hotel rooms from consumers and charging hidden resort fees to increase profits. The Attorney General alleges that Hilton's deceptive and misleading pricing practices and failure to disclose fees harmed consumers and violated Nebraska's consumer protection laws.
    Source: NE Attorney General

  • 07.18.19AG Grewal, NJ Bureau of Securities Announce Cryptocurrency Lawsuit Against Princeton-Based Business for Allegedly Violating Securities Law in Sale of Tokens
    New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities within the Division of Consumer Affairs announced that the State has filed a three-count lawsuit against Pocketinns, Inc., a Princeton-based blockchain-driven online rental marketplace, and its president Sarvajnya G. Mada. The lawsuit alleges that Pocketinns and Mada offered and sold more than $400,000 of unregistered securities from New Jersey in the form of a cryptocurrency called "PINNS Tokens."
    Source: NJ Attorney General

  • 07.17.19Consumer Protection Division recovers $16 million in 2018
    Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division recovered more than $16 million for Kansas consumers and taxpayers last year.
    Source: KS Attorney General

  • 07.12.19AG Yost Launches New Tool to Help Ohio Consumers
    Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the launch of a new online tool to help Ohioans gauge the reputations of businesses and steer clear of those with problematic pasts. In other Ohio news, General Yost announced a consumer protection lawsuit against a central Ohio concrete contractor accused of performing shoddy work and failing to complete home improvement projects. Additionally, General Yost and the FTC worked together to shut down a telemarketing scheme.
    Source: OH Attorney General

  • 07.11.19Salter College to Provide $1.6 Million in Debt Relief to Students
    Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that the for-profit education company Salter College and its parent, Premier Education Group, will provide over $1.6 million in debt relief to resolve allegations that the company did not provide its students with critical information on program job placement, loan repayment and graduation rates as required by state law.
    Source: MA Attorney General

  • 07.10.19Attorney General James Announces Settlement With Ticket Resale Companies For Selling Tickets They Never Owned
    New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement resolving a lawsuit against TicketNetwork, Inc., Ticket Galaxy, and their owner Donald Vaccaro for tricking tens of thousands of unsuspecting customers into purchasing tickets to concerts, shows, and other live events that the sellers did not actually own. In other New York news, General James announced a settlement banning Buffalo-based debt collection kingpin Douglas MacKinnon, and his companies Northern Resolution Group, LLC and Enhanced Acquisitions, LLC, as well as Mark Gray and his company Delray Capital, LLC, from the debt collection industry, and requiring defendants to pay more than $66 million in restitution and penalties. MacKinnon, Gray, and their companies routinely inflated debts to try to collect more than consumers were legally obligated to pay. Collection offices working at the behest of MacKinnon and Gray used a variety of illegal tactics to obtain payments, such as threatening consumers with arrest. Additionally, General James and the FTC announced court orders stopping a scheme to distribute and collect on millions of dollars in "phantom debts," fake debts that consumers did not owe.

  • 07.10.19Attorney General Josh Stein Wins $8 Million Judgment Against Out-of-State Event Producers
    North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was granted a default judgment against Utah-based event production companies Lantern Fest Productions and Sack Lunch Productions in a lawsuit he filed last year alleging unfair and deceptive business practices.
    Source: NC Attorney General

  • 07.09.19AG Racine Sues Marriott for Charging Deceptive Resort Fees and Misleading Tens of Thousands of District Consumers
    District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed a lawsuit against Marriott International, Inc., a multinational hotel company, for allegedly hiding the true price of hotel rooms from consumers and charging hidden resort fees to increase profits.
    Source: DC Attorney General

  • 07.08.19How T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Fight Robocalls on Their Network
    AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are working to curtail robocalls on their platforms.
    Source: USA Today

  • 07.05.19Rutledge Obtains Over $600,000 Judgment Against The Resort Place
    Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge obtained a judgment valued at more than $600,000 against The Resort Place LLC and owners Jay Allen Edmonson and Dora Ann Edmonson. Based on allegations in the complaint, The Resort Place failed to book pre-paid vacation and used consumers' credit card information to pay for other consumers' vacations.
    Source: Arkansas Attorney General

  • 07.08.19Attorney General Morrisey Wins $76K Judgment Shutting Down Contractor
    West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won a $76,000 judgment that also orders a home improvement contractor cease any work as a contractor. The court determined Thomas Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning; its operator, Oscar Thomas; and his wife and fellow participant, April Thomas; each repeatedly and willfully violated the state's consumer protection laws.
    Source: WV Attorney General

  • 07.05.194 More Attorneys General Join Lawsuit to Enjoin Merger of Major Wireless Phone Companies
    Hawaii AG Clare Connors, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison, and Nevada AG Aaron Ford joined a lawsuit to enjoin T-Mobile US, Inc. and its parent company (collectively, "T-Mobile") from acquiring Sprint Corporation over allegations that the acquisition would substantially lessen competition in violation of the Clayton Act.
    Source: The State AG Report

  • 07.03.19AG Schmitt Announces Lawsuit Against Cass County Roofing Company for Fraud
    Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced his office filed a lawsuit against Apex Contracting & Roofing, a roofing company in Cass County, Missouri and its owner Jason Stewart. The lawsuit was brought as a result of multiple complaints filed by Missouri consumers. The lawsuit alleges that Apex and Stewart violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by requiring consumers to pay certain amounts of money prior to beginning work, promising substantive completion by certain dates, and failing to provide the promised roofing and construction services in sufficient quality or on time.
    Source: MO Attorney General

  • 07.02.1925 Democratic Attorneys General Warn CFPB that Weakening Debit Card Overdraft Fee Rule Will Harm Consumers
    25 Democratic AGs, led by New York AG Letitia James, submitted a comment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") in response to the CFPB's Notice of Section 610 Review and Request for Comments on its Overdraft Rule, which currently limits the ability of financial institutions to assess overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit card transactions that overdraw consumers' accounts.
    Source: NY Attorney General

  • 07.02.19Attorney General bars ‘pyramid scheme’ that cost Iowans $51,000
    Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced that a Florida man accused of operating a "pure pyramid scheme" and taking more than $51,000 from older Iowans must make refunds to the victims and stop his solicitations under a settlement with the Iowa Attorney General's Office.
    Source: IA Attorney General

  • 07.01.19New York Attorney General, FTC Settle with Debt Broker and Collection Agency for Allegedly Brokering and Collecting on Fake Debts
    New York AG Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") reached settlements with debt broker Hylan Asset Management, LLC, its owners, and related entities (collectively, "Hylan"), and collection agency Worldwide Processing Group, LLC and its owner (collectively, "Worldwide") to resolve allegations that they brokered and collected on fake debts in violation of the FTC Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), and state laws against deceptive business practices and illegal debt collection practices.
    Source: NY Attorney General

  • 07.01.19AG Hill asks Hoosiers to watch for car dealers posing as private sellers on Craigslist
    Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked Hoosiers to watch for car dealers posing as private sellers on Craigslist and to alert the Office of the Attorney General when they come across such listings.
    Source: IN Attorney General

  • 06.11.19Attorney General Frosh Joins Suit to Block T-Mobile and Sprint Megamerger
    BALTIMORE, MD – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined 9 states in filing a multi-state lawsuit to halt the proposed merger of telecom giants T-Mobile and Sprint. The complaint alleges that the merger of two of the four national mobile network operators would deprive consumers of the benefits of competition and drive up prices for cellphone services. T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. are the third and fourth largest mobile wireless networks in the U.S., respectively, and are the lower-cost carriers among the "Big Four." Verizon Wireless and AT&T - the two largest wireless networks - round out the market. Intense competition, spurred in particular by T-Mobile and Sprint, has meant declining prices, increased coverage, and better quality for all mobile phone subscribers. Since 2009, the average cost of mobile service has fallen by roughly 28 percent, according to the Labor Department, while mobile data consumption has grown rapidly. But the merger would put an end to that fierce competition, which has delivered so many benefits to consumers.
    Read more from the Maryland Attorney General Press Release

  • 05.30.19Attorney General Becerra Obtains $1.5 Million in Judgments Against Telemarketers Who Scammed Vulnerable Investors
    SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today judgments totaling $1,498,574 in a lawsuit against telemarketers who scammed investors. The company, Consumer Rights Legal Services (CRLS), and four individuals, including CRLS's president and owner, James Davitt, cheated more than 150 victims by offering bogus "investment recovery services" that they claimed would recover money victims had lost from previous investments. Many of the victims were elderly and had already lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from previous schemes.
    Read more from the State of California Department of Justice

  • 05.30.19California Attorney General Obtains Judgments Against Telemarketers Over Allegedly Offering Deceptive Investment Recovery Services
    California AG Xavier Becerra obtained judgments against telemarketing company The Davitt Corporation d/b/a Consumer Rights Legal Services and related individuals (collectively, “CRLS”) over allegations that they offered deceptive investment recovery services in violation of the state’s telephonic sales, false advertising, and unfair competition laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 05.30.19Colorado Enacts Bill Amending Consumer Protection Act
    Colorado AG Phil Weiser joined Governor Jared Polis as he signed legislation that amended the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”) to further deter unfair business practices.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Data Privacy & Security

  • 10.31.19FTC Staff Comments on NIST’s Proposed Privacy Framework
    Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) staff submitted a comment on the preliminary draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (“NIST”) Privacy Framework: A Tool for Improving Privacy through Enterprise Risk Management (“Framework”).
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.24.19FTC Reaches Agreement with Developer of “Stalker” Applications
    The FTC entered into an agreement with application developer Retina-X Studios, LLC and its owner (collectively, “Retina-X”) to resolve allegations that it violated the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by developing and marketing three mobile device “stalking” applications that allowed purchasers to monitor the mobile devices on which they were installed, without the knowledge or permission of the device’s users.
    Read more on The State AG Report

  • 10.17.19California Attorney General Releases Proposed Regulations Under New Privacy Law
    California AG Xavier Becerra released proposed regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) for public review and comment which, as previously reported, will expand both consumer privacy protections and the types of information that are considered protectable personal information.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.03.19New York Attorney General Sues National Donut Chain Over Alleged Data Breach
    New York AG Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., the franchisor of Dunkin’ Donuts, over allegations that it failed to secure data connected to store-branded value cards in violation of state consumer protection law and data breach notification statute.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.05.19New York Attorney General and FTC Settle with Web Companies Over Alleged Violations of Children’s Online Privacy
    New York AG Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") reached a settlement with Google LLC and its subsidiary YouTube, LLC to resolve allegations that the website operators tracked and targeted advertisements to children on YouTube in violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the FTC Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 07.30.19One hack, 106 million people: Capital One ensnared by breach
    A data breach of Capital One may have affected the personal information of 106 million Capital One credit card holders or credit card applicants in the U.S. and Canada. Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois, and New York announced investigations into the Capital One data breach.

  • 07.22.1950 Attorneys General, FTC, and CFPB Settle with Consumer Credit Reporting Agency Over Data Breach
    50 AGs, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") reached settlements with consumer credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. over allegations that it failed to secure personal information stored on its network in violation of state consumer protection and data privacy laws, the FTC Act, the Safeguards Rule of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and federal consumer protection laws.
    Source: State AG Report

  • 06.28.19New York Attorney General Settles With Dating Application Over Failure to Secure Private Photos
    New York AG Letitia James reached a settlement with Online Buddies, Inc. to resolve allegations that it failed to protect private photos of users of its dating app Jack'd.
    Source: NY Attorney General

  • 06.25.19Illinois Legislature Passes, Texas Enacts Data Breach Notification Laws
    Illinois has passed legislation and Texas has enacted a bill that expand their respective data breach notification laws.

  • 06.07.19State AGs announce lab breach investigation
    The Connecticut and Illinois state attorneys general announced today that they are investigating a data breach that affected as many as 20 million patients' records at LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics.
    Source: POLITICIO Pro

  • 05.30.1916 Attorneys General Settle With Electronic Health Records Company Over Alleged Data Breach
    16 AGs, led by Indiana AG Curtis Hill, reached a settlement with web-based electronic health records company Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. d/b/a Enterprise Health, LLC, K&L Holdings, and NoMoreClipboard, LLC (collectively, “MIE”) to resolve allegations that it failed to adequately protect patients’ electronic personal health information (“ePHI”) or respond to unauthorized access to its systems in violation of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and state consumer protection, personal information protection, and data breach notification laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 05.30.19Vermont Attorney General Settles With Software Supplier Over Alleged Failure to Secure Municipal Employees’ Information
    Vermont AG T.J. Donovan reached a settlement with software supplier New England Municipal Resource Center, Ltd. (“NEMRC”) to resolve allegations that it failed to secure municipal employees’ information in violation of the state Consumer Protection Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Diversity

  • 10.14.19Virginia Law Requiring Couples to Disclose Race Is Unconstitutional, Judge Says
    A federal judge ruled that a Virginia law requiring couples to reveal their race in applying for a marriage license is unconstitutional. The lawsuit against the Virginia State Registrar and others was filed after three couples said they were denied marriage licenses in the state after they refused to check a box disclosing their race on their applications.
    Read more from CNN

  • 07.07.19Commentary: Why the debate about equal pay for U.S. women's soccer isn't that clear-cut
    Now that the United States has again won the Women's World Cup, the call for equal pay has turned into a national obsession, as Americans abruptly noticed the pool of prize money available to their champions was less than 10% of what FIFA offers the men.
    Read more from the Chicago Tribune

E-Cigarettes

  • 10.17.19Arkansas Attorney General Sues Three E-Cigarette Retailers for Alleged Sales to Minors
    Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge sued vaping retailers BuyVapor.com LLC, Gladiator Distribution Inc. d/b/a The Vape Co., Mystic Juice USA, LLC, and related individuals for allegedly selling vaping products to minors in violation of Arkansas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.17.19Florida Attorney General Launches Investigation Into Marketing and Sales Practices of 22 E-Cigarette Companies
    Florida AG Ashley Moody launched an investigation into the marketing and online sales strategies of 22 e-cigarette companies to determine whether they have violated state consumer protection laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.16.19New York Set To Join Michigan In Banning Some Electronic Cigarettes
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will issue an emergency regulation banning certain flavored products. The move comes amid advances toward a similar federal ban.
    Read more from NPR

  • 09.05.19Colorado Attorney General to Investigate E-Cigarette Manufacturer Over Marketing Practices
    According to reports, Colorado AG Phil Weiser has announced an investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs, Inc. ("JUUL") over allegedly deceptive marketing by the company.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 08.29.19North Carolina Attorney General Sues Eight E-Cigarette Companies Over Allegedly Advertising to Minors and Misrepresenting Product Risks
    North Carolina AG Josh Stein filed lawsuits against e-cigarette companies Eonsmoke LLC, Juice Man LLC, The Electronic Tobacconist LLC, Tinted Brew Liquid Co., LLC, VapeCo Distribution LLC, Beard Vape Co., Direct eLiquid LLC, and Electric Lotus LLC over allegations they marketed and sold e-cigarette products designed to appeal to youth in violation of the state Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 06.07.19Massachusetts Attorney General Sues E-Cigarette Retailer Over Allegedly Advertising and Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors
    Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against e-cigarette retailer Eonsmoke, LLC over allegations that it failed to prevent underage individuals from purchasing its e-cigarette products in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Environment

  • 10.31.19Massachusetts Attorney General Sues Exxon for Allegedly Misleading Consumers and Investors Regarding Risks of Climate Change
    Massachusetts AG Maura Healey sued Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”) for allegedly misleading consumers and investors about the risks that fossil fuel-driven climate change poses to Exxon’s business, in violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and related regulations.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.19.19Illinois Attorney General Settles with Chemical Company Over Alleged Chemical Releases and Permit Violations
    Illinois AG Kwame Raoul reached a settlement with chemical manufacturer Flint Hills Resources Peru, LLC (“Flint Hills”) over allegations that the company released and dumped chemicals in violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and was noncompliant with certain permit and reporting requirements under Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.17.19Trump Says California's Ability To Set Its Own Emissions Standards Will Be Revoked
    The end of the state's Obama-era waiver is seen by many as the latest move to undo a years-long push to produce more fuel efficient cars.
    Read more from NPR

  • 09.12.19EPA Makes Rollback Of Clean Water Rules Official, Repealing 2015 Protections
    The change ends an "egregious power grab," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler says.
    Read more from NPR
  • 08.08.19Six AGs Sue EPA Over Decision to Allow Dangerous Neurotoxin in Food
    The Trump administration has declined to place a ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide that is dangerous for infants and young children. The EPA is unlawfully continuing its "years-long pattern of delay" in addressing the dangers posed by chlorpyrifos, a known neurotoxin with decades of documented health risks. New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of six state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging the agency's refusal to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic pesticide used on more than 80 food crops, and has been shown to negatively impact brain development and the functioning of the central nervous system.

  • 08.08.19EPA Continues to Allow Levels of Toxic Chlorpyrifos on Food Even Though Agency Has Not Determined Contamination Is Safe
    BALTIMORE, MD — Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of six state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for continuing to allow chlorpyrifos — a widely used pesticide with well-documented harms to infants' and children's neurological development — to continue to contaminate common foods. The coalition is challenging EPA's decision to continue to allow chlorpyrifos in food, even though it has not made a current finding, as required by law, that this pesticide contamination is safe. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
    Source: Maryland Attorney General

  • 07.25.19Eight Attorneys General, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Environmental Groups Settle with Power Company Over Alleged Air Pollution
    Eight AGs, led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal, and New York AG Letitia James; the U.S. Environment Protection Agency; and environmental groups reached a settlement with American Electric Power ("AEP") to revise a 2007 consent decree governing AEP's emissions.
    Source: State AG Report

  • 07.25.19Coalition of Twelve State AGs Again Call on Trump Administration to Withdraw Arbitrary Proposed Rollback of National Clean Car Standards
    On July 23, New York Attorney General Letitia James led a multi-state coalition of 12 state attorneys general in submitting a supplementary comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rebuking the Trump administration for violating state consultation requirements as part of its rollback of national Clean Car Standards. The AGs reiterated their previous call for the Trump administration to drop its arbitrary and capricious proposed rollback, which relies on flawed analyses, violates procedural and substantive requirements of several statutes, and impedes the rights of states to move forward in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
    Source: NYU School of Law

  • 07.25.19Maryland AG Brian Frosh Leads Coalition of Fourteen State AGs in Filing Amicus Brief on Groundwater Pollution
    Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a multi-state coalition of 14 state attorneys general in submitting an amicus brief in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a Supreme Court case with major implications for the future of the Clean Water Act. In their brief, the attorneys general rejected the Trump administration's position that the Clean Water Act provides an exception for discharged pollutants reaching protected navigable waters through groundwater. The AGs also noted that their states rely on the Clean Water Act's cooperative federalism framework to regulate pollution discharges into navigable waters, and that a decision to weaken the Act's protections against contamination via groundwater would jeopardize their ability to continue to protect critical waters, as current state and federal laws are unable to cover the gap that would be created by such a decision. In a press release announcing the brief, AG Frosh noted that a ruling in favor of the administration would provide polluters with a road map for evading Clean Water Act protections, putting our nation's rivers, streams, lakes and other critical waterways at risk.
    Source: NYU School of Law

  • 07.25.19California AG Xavier Becerra Blasts EPA Over its Incomplete Risk Assessment for Toxic Herbicide
    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted a comment letter to the EPA on July 12 rebuking the agency's failure to adequately evaluate the risks associated with 2,4-DP-p, a weed killer commonly used in residential and commercial landscaping, as well as on golf courses and along public roadsides and sidewalks. In his comment letter, AG Becerra noted that the EPA failed to consider the cumulative impacts to human health and the environment of exposure to 2,4-DP-p along with related herbicides, including a group of highly similar compounds called 2,4-D and 2,4-DB. Over a million pounds of 2,4-D and other herbicides related to 2,4-DP-p were sold in California last year, and monitoring data show that these substances are the most frequently detected herbicide in urban waterways in Northern California and the second most detected herbicide in Southern California. Prior studies indicate that 2,4-DP-p may be highly toxic for larval honey bees, a keystone species in ecosystems throughout California-a significant cause for concern given that 2,4-D has also been found to harm bees. According to the AG's letter, any sufficient analysis of the impacts of 2,4-DP-p must consider the cumulative impacts of all herbicides that may have additive toxicities.
    Source: NYU School of Law

  • 07.05.19Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia Demand that PJM's Next CEO Work With States on Clean Energy Goals
    On July 5, Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine sent a letter to PJM Interconnection regarding its search for its next president and chief executive officer, stating that the next leader should be "an enthusiastic partner in states and localities' efforts to address climate change, protect consumers, and promote green economic development." PJM is the regional transmission organization that operates wholesale electricity markets and manages the transmission grid across all or part of thirteen states and the District of Columbia. PJM has struggled with allowing clean energy resources supported by state policies to compete in its markets.

  • 07.01.19Washington AG Bob Ferguson Blasts Army Corps' Pebble Mine Impact Statement
    On July 1, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed comments criticizing the Army Corps of Engineers' draft environmental impact statement(DEIS) for a massive proposed mining project in the Bristol Bay watershed in southwestern Alaska. In his comments, AG Ferguson described in detail his state's economic, cultural and academic ties to Bristol Bay, and in particular to the region's world-class wild salmon fisheries, which could be significantly degraded if the proposed "Pebble Mine" project is allowed to proceed. As AG Ferguson noted, "Alaska's seafood industry generates 23,900 jobs and $1.3 billion in labor earnings in the Puget Sound region of Washington alone."

  • 06.28.19Eleven AGs Sue Trump Administration Over EPA's Refusal to Fulfill Asbestos Data Reporting Obligations
    A coalition of 11 state attorneys general led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 28 over the agency's denial of the states' January 2019 petition to close loopholes in the EPA's data reporting requirements for asbestos. In their lawsuit, the attorneys general note that the Trump administration's decision to deny their petition violates the EPA's statutory obligations as established by the Toxic Substances Control Act's (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting rule. This rule requires the EPA to fully evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with toxic substances that pose a known danger to human health and the environment. Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that is known to cause life-threatening diseases including mesothelioma and lung cancer, and kills 15,000 people each year.

  • 06.20.19Ten AGs Praise House Subcommittees' Hearing on Clean Car Standards
    On June 20, a coalition of 10 state attorneys general led by New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of two subcommittees of the House Energy & Commerce Committee praising their decision to hold a joint hearing on the importance of preserving national Clean Car Standards. The AGs emphasized that the rollback proposed by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is "antithetical to EPA's and NHTSA's respective missions" and runs "directly contrary to the fundamental commands of the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act." The AGs, whose states account for more than one-third of the U.S. auto market, also condemned the agencies' failure to conduct mandatory consultation with state and local governments while developing the proposal — a fact that the agencies misrepresented in the proposed rule.

  • 06.19.19State Attorneys General Vow to Sue Trump Administration Over Clean Power Plan Repeal
    Led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a total of 13 state attorneys general released statements on June 19 promising to take aggressive legal action in response to the Trump administration's decision to finalize its repeal of the Clean Power Plan. As part of her statement announcing her intent to sue, Attorney General James noted that the EPA's so-called "Affordable Clean Energy" rule is another attempt by the Trump administration to deny the reality of climate change, and that the rule will impose tremendous public health, environmental and economic costs on the American people. New York previously led a coalition of 19 state attorneys general in submitting comments opposing the administration's proposed rule in October 2018.

  • 06.12.19Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Remind the Public to Be Aware of Fraud When Disaster Strikes and Report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud
    As severe weather continues across the United States and this year's hurricane season begins, the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Trent Shores remind the public to be on the lookout for fraud against natural disaster victims and to report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF).
    Source: Department of Justice. To learn more about the NCDF please visit its website.

  • 06.12.19Real Estate Property Owner Sentenced in Connection with Clean Water Act Violation in Florida Keys Following Hurricane Irma
    Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Andy Castro, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), Atlanta Area Office, Colonel Andrew Kelly, District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District, and Frank Robey, Director, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, announced that Bonefish Holdings, LLC pled guilty and was sentenced today, before U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez, in connection with the illegal filling of federally regulated wetlands without a federal permit from USACE following Hurricane Irma in 2017.
    Source: Department of Justice

  • 06.10.19California AG Xavier Becerra and New Mexico AG Hector Balderas Ask Court to Vacate Rollback of Methane Waste Prevention Rule
    Washington, D.C. — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a motion for summary judgement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Friday calling on the court to vacate the Trump administration's rollback of a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulation addressing the excessive venting and flaring of natural gas by oil and gas companies operating on public lands. The attorneys' general lawsuit comes at a time when global emissions of methane gas are spiking, and when the venting and flaring of natural gas has reached crisis levels in BLM managed areas such as New Mexico's Permian Basin and the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota.
    Source: New York University School of Law

  • 06.10.19Eleven AGs Urge EPA to Maintain Longstanding Clean Water Act Protections against Discharges through Groundwater
    Washington, D.C. — A coalition of 11 state attorneys general led by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) objecting to the agency's April 2019 Interpretative Statement eliminating the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over pollutants that reach federally protected navigable waters through groundwater connections. The attorneys general noted that the agency's Interpretive Statement violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Clean Water Act, and requested its withdrawal
    Source: New York University School of Law

  • 06.07.19State AGs Step Up Efforts to Address the Emerging PFAS Contamination Crisis
    State attorneys general have become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to confront drinking water contamination caused by per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), demonstrating the continued importance of state leadership on this unfolding crisis in the face of federal inaction. At least four state AGs have filed lawsuits in 2019 over ongoing PFAS contamination, while other attorneys general such as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel have promised to begin stepping up enforcement activities of their own.
    New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit in March 2019 against the U.S. Air Force for contamination of drinking water near Cannon Air Force Base and Holloman Air Force Base, stemming from decades of use of firefighting foam containing PFAS in training exercises and live firefighting activities.
    New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed two lawsuits in March 2019 and a third in May 2019 against DuPont, Chemours, 3M and other manufacturers and sellers of firefighting foam and non-stick consumer products containing PFAS. AG Grewal's lawsuits seek natural resource damages, payment for testing and remediation efforts and other penalties.
    Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced in May 2019 a state court's approval of a settlement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics under which the company will fund the extension of municipal water lines to deliver clean water to 470 homes that are currently served by wells contaminated with PFAS.
    New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald filed a lawsuit in May 2019 against eight chemical companies over PFAS contamination resulting from the manufacture and sale of firefighting foam. AG MacDonald filed an additional lawsuit against DuPont, Chemours and 3M over the manufacture and sale of other products containing PFAS.
    Source: New York University School of Law

  • 06.07.19California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Asks Court to Vacate Trump Administration's Unlawful Repeal of Fracking Rule
    On June 3, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion for summary judgment asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to vacate the Interior Department's final repeal of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) updated regulations for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on public lands. In his brief, AG Becerra noted that the BLM's March 2015 "Fracking Rule" provided a key update to outmoded rules that the BLM had issued in 1988 before fracking practices were prevalent and before their potential environmental impacts were understood. The 2015 Fracking Rule was designed to ensure the integrity of well construction and to address major environmental concerns caused by fracking, including drinking water contamination caused by surface spills and the failure of some well operators to safely dispose of hazardous chemical fluids.
    Source: New York University School of Law

  • 06.07.19Sixteen State Attorneys General Object to Trump Administration's Proposal to Limit States' Authority Under the Clean Water Act
    New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 16 state attorneys general in a comment letter denouncing the EPA's proposal to issue new guidance and regulations limiting state authority to deny permits for fossil fuel infrastructure projects under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The EPA's proposal comes in response to an April 10 Executive Order by President Trump directing the agency to change its current Section 401 guidance. During the announcement of his executive order, President Trump specifically criticized states such as New York and Washington over their decision to deny permits for fossil fuel infrastructure projects that would jeopardize water quality in their states. In their comment letter, the AGs noted that any action by the EPA that would restrict states' statutory authority under Section 401 would be unlawful and contrary to cooperative federalism principles.

    Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined the New York-led coalition, while also submitting a separate comment letter characterizing the Trump administration's claims that the EPA's current Section 401 guidelines are causing industry confusion as "fabricated." In his letter, AG Ferguson noted that he would take "all steps necessary" to defend Washington's rights under the law. In addition to New York and Washington, the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont also joined the coalition opposing the Trump administration's proposed rollback of state authority under the Clean Water Act.
    Source: New York University School of Law

  • 06.07.19ICYMI — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein Asks North Carolina Supreme Court to Stop Duke Energy's Plan to Profit From Its Own Coal Ash Pollution
    On April 26, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a brief in the North Carolina Supreme Court asking the court to overturn a decision by the North Carolina Utilities Commission allowing Duke Energy to pass cleanup costs associated with the company's coal ash pollution onto the state's electricity consumers. Duke Energy estimates that cleanup costs could total up to $5 billion. In his brief, AG Stein noted that the Utilities Commission had "strayed far from the law" when it allowed Duke Energy to pass these costs onto consumers, noting that the company had knowingly violated the law for years when it chose to continue storing its coal ash in unlined ponds. AG Stein also criticized the Utilities Commission's decision to allow Duke Energy to collect profits from its ratepayers, in addition to the cleanup costs themselves, for undertaking required cleanups.
    Read legal brief

  • 06.05.19Attorney General Tong: Long Island Sound dredging Challenge Lacks Merit
    Hartford, CT — Attorney General William Tong has filed a memorandum of law in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York describing the exhaustive administrative record, economic need, and environmental safeguards that clearly support the lawful selection of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site for dredged materials.
    Read more from the State of Connecticut Attorney General

False Claims

  • 07.27.19Connecticut Attorney General Sues Therapy Treatment Company for Alleged False Claims
    Connecticut AG William Tongfiled a lawsuit against Therapy Unlimited, LLC and its owner (collectively, "Therapy Unlimited") over allegations that it submitted false claims for reimbursement to the state Medicaid program and State Employee Health and Retirement Plan ("State Plan") in violation of the Connecticut False Claims Act.
    Source: The State AG Report

  • 07.02.19Five Attorneys General, City of Baltimore Settle With Data Company Over Allegedly Defrauding State Law Enforcement Agencies
    5 Attorneys General and the City of Baltimore reached a settlement with data company LexisNexis Risk Solutions and its affiliates (collectively, "LexisNexis") to resolve allegations that it defrauded state law enforcement agencies out of over $2.8 million in violation of the states' False Claims Acts.

Gaming/ Gambling

  • 08.29.19New Jersey Attorney General Settles with Online Fantasy Sports Website Operator Over Allegedly Operating Without a Permit Under New Law
    New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal reached a settlement with SportsHub Games Network, Inc. (“SportsHub”) over allegations that it operated an online fantasy sports site without a permit in violation of the state Fantasy Sports Act (“FSA”) and failed to clearly disclose data privacy practices in violation of the state Consumer Fraud Act.
    Read more on The State AG Report

  • 06.07.19Arizona Attorney General Settles with Game Machine Company Over Allegedly Selling and Leasing Machines With Auto-Percentaging Systems
    Arizona AG Mark Brnovich reached a settlement with merchandiser game machine company Betson Coin-Op Distributing Company, Inc. d/b/a Betson West ("Betson") to resolve allegations that it sold and leased machines with auto-percentaging systems-which can be set to ensure that a certain number of players lose the game before the machine pays a prize-in violation of the state's Consumer Fraud Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Healthcare

  • 08.05.19Attorney General Ferguson’s investigation into Premera data breach results in Premera paying $10 million over failure to protect sensitive patient data
    Thirty attorneys general entered into a $10 million settlement with Premera Blue Cross for failing to secure sensitive consumer data and for misleading consumers before and after a data breach affecting millions across the country.
    Source: Washington Attorney General

  • 07.12.19Eighteen State AGs Urge Congress to Ban Asbestos, Citing Tens of Thousands of Annual Deaths
    On July 12, a multi-state coalition of 18 state attorneys general led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change calling on Congress to ban the manufacturing, processing, importation and distribution of asbestos in the United States. In their letter the AGs called on Congress to pass the "Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019," which would reinstate a ban on asbestos that the EPA put in place 30 years ago. That regulation was vacated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991.
    Source: NYU School of Law

  • 07.05.19Pennsylvania Attorney General Agrees to Dismiss Litigation Against Non-Profit Health Care System
    Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro agreed to dismiss litigation against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center ("UPMC") seeking an unlimited extension of a consent decree guaranteeing in-network access to customers of insurance provider Highmark, Inc. The court in the case previously issued a ruling that limited the scope of relief that the AG could obtain.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 07.02.19Massachusetts Attorney General Settles With Healthcare Services and IT Provider Over Alleged Data Breach
    Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached a settlement with healthcare administrative services and IT provider CoPilot Provider Support Services Inc. ("CoPilot") to resolve allegations that it failed to give timely notice of a data breach that affected nearly 1,900 patients in the state in violation of the state's data breach notification law.

  • 06.26.19Connecticut Attorney General, U.S. Attorney's Office, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Settle With Clinical Laboratory Over Alleged Overbilling for Drug Tests
    Connecticut AG William Tong, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reached a settlement with Clinical Science Laboratory, Inc. and its owners (collectively, "CSL") to resolve allegations that it overbilled for urine drug tests in violation of state and federal False Claims Acts and state Medicaid regulations.

  • 06.19.19Colorado Attorney General, FTC Settle With Health Care Companies Over Proposed Acquisition
    Colorado AG Phil Weiser reached a settlement with UnitedHealth Group Incorporated ("United") and DaVita Inc. to resolve allegations that the proposed acquisition of DaVita affiliate DaVita Medical Holdings LLC ("DaVita MH") by United subsidiary Optum would lessen competition in the market for certain insurance plans in violation of state law governing mergers and acquisitions.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Labor & Employment Law

  • 10.31.19Ten Attorneys General File Amicus Brief in Support of Continuing Collection of Employer Pay Data
    Ten AGs and nine state and local civil rights enforcement agencies, led by California AG Xavier Becerra, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the matter of National Women’s Law Center, et al. v. Office of Management and Budget, et al., No. 19-5130, urging the Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling that requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) to continue collecting certain pay data from private employers with over 100 employees as required by Title VII.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 10.31.19Washington Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Coffee Chain Over Non-Compete Agreements
    Washington AG Bob Ferguson reached a settlement with a local coffee chain, Mercurys Madness Inc. d/b/a Mercurys Coffee (“Mercurys Coffee”), over allegations that Mercurys Coffee’s use of non-compete agreements violated the state Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.26.19Washington Attorney General Reaches Agreements with Ten More Franchisors to Eliminate “No-Poach” Provisions
    Washington AG Bob Ferguson reached agreements with franchisors Abbey Carpet Co., Inc., Gosh Enterprises, Inc., Floors to Go, LLC, G & S Frugals, Inc., Gold’s Gym Franchising LLC, KF Tea Franchising LLC, Mattress Depot USA, Inc., Mrs. Fields Franchising, LLC, Tan Republic Franchise Company LLC, and TCBY Systems, LLC to eliminate “no-poach” provisions in their franchise contracts.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.19.19New York Attorney General Settles with Home Health Aide Company Over Alleged Wage and Human Rights Law Violations
    New York AG Letitia James reached a settlement with home health aide company Allcare Homecare Agency, Inc. (“Allcare”) over allegations that Allcare failed to pay aides for all hours worked and failed to offer paid leave in violation of the state Labor Law, Homecare Worker Wage Parity Act, and Earned Sick Time Act, and threatened immigrant workers in violation of the state Labor Law and Human Rights Law.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.12.19Washington Attorney General Reaches Agreements with Eight More Franchisors to Eliminate "No-Poach" Provisions
    Washington AG Bob Ferguson reached agreements with franchisors which incorporated provisions in their contracts with franchise owners that prohibited employees from moving among stores within the same corporate chain.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.05.1913 Attorneys General Oppose U.S. Department of Labor Proposed Rule Amending Apprenticeship Regulations
    13 AGs, led by Washington AG Bob Ferguson, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") opposing a proposed rule that would amend the Labor Standards for the Registration of Apprenticeship Programs, which establishes guidelines for third parties to accredit apprenticeship programs, among other things.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 07.27.19Minnesota Attorney General Announces New Wage Theft Unit
    Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announced the creation of a new Wage Theft Unit within the AG's office that will be dedicated to investigating and enforcing cases of wage theft.
    Source: The State AG Report

  • 07.05.1919 Democratic Attorneys General Oppose U.S. Department of Labor's Proposed Rule to Amend Joint Employer Standard
    19 Democratic AGs, led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, New York AG Letitia James, and Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, submitted a comment in opposition to the U.S. Department of Labor's ("DOL") proposed rule to amend the "joint employer standard," which is used to determine when two or more employers are jointly responsible for the terms and conditions of employment for a group of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    Read more from New York Attorney General

  • 05.30.19Massachusetts Attorney General Settles with Energy Company Over Alleged Wage and Hour Violations
    Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached a settlement with retail energy company Eversource Energy Service Company, Inc. (“Eversource”) to resolve allegations that it failed to make timely and full payments to its employees in violation of state wage and hour laws.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Land Use & Zoning

  • 07.09.19Law Prof Richard Epstein to Lead Challenge of Obama Center in Jackson Park
    The legal scholar notes a recent shift in federal courts in favor of the arguments he will likely make in the appeal.
    Read more from the Chicago Tribune

  • 07.08.19Affordable Housing Design Contest in Chicago
    Imagine a small family that earns a modest income, say $75,000. If they want to buy a house in Chicago, new construction is probably out of the question. Neighborhood Housing Services and a half dozen other affordable housing groups, lenders and the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects are trying to change that. This week, they're wrapping up a contest they kicked off late last year to find Chicago's next starter home, challenging architects to come up with a modern version of the Chicago bungalow, a new single-family home that's affordable to the masses.
    Read more from WBEZ.org

  • 07.05.19Oregon Legislature Votes To Essentially Ban Single-Family Zoning
    Oregon's Legislature has approved legislation that would require cities with more than 10,000 people to permit two-family homes in single-family zones. This is the first state legislation in the growing YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement.
    Read more from NPR.org

  • 07.05.1910th Circuit upholds Utah city's 'sit, stand' prohibition on sidewalks
    In 2016, the Sandy City, Utah city council adopted an ordinance making it illegal for any person "to sit or stand, in or on any unpaved median, or any median of less than 36 inches for any period of time." Sandy City Traffic Code, Article 16, Section 299.1 (the Ordinance). After the Sandy City council adopted the Ordinance, Plaintiff-Appellant Steve Ray Evans received four citations for violating the Ordinance when he stood on narrow or unpaved medians. Evans filed suit against the City and many of its officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the district court of Utah, alleging the Ordinance is facially invalid because it violates the First Amendment right to free speech.
    Read more

  • 07.02.19Viewpoint: Senator is Wrong About 'Knick' Ruling
    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in his recent National Law Journal broadside, "'Knick'-Picking: Why a Recent SCOTUS Ruling Signals a New Day," goes off the rails in claiming the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Knick v. Township of Scott is the product of five conservative justices ganging up to ignore legal precedent so as to impose their agenda and of “dark money” funding a shadowy coalition of groups bent on remaking the court and influencing it to their ends.
    Read more from the Connecticut Law Tribune

  • 07.01.19'Knick'-Picking: Why a nRecent SCOTUS Ruling Signals a New Day
    For years, back to when I argued the U.S. Supreme Court case Palazzolo v. Rhode Island as Rhode Island’s attorney general, big-money developers and regulated industries and the lawyer groups that front for them have been trying to turn the Constitution’s takings clause into a weapon against the government. The court’s decision in Knick v. Township of Scott just gave them a big prize — and showed how much control those interests now have.
    Read more from the Connecticut Law Tribune

  • 06.25.19New Report Shows US Housing Supply Falls Far Short of What Is Needed
    CAMBRIDGE, MA — With the nation's economy on sound footing and incomes on the rise, the number of people forming households in the United States has finally returned to a more normal pace. Housing production, however, has not. The 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies documents how the housing shortfall is keeping pressure on house prices and rents, eroding affordability for modest-income households in many markets. The report will be released in a live webcast today at 12 pm ET from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    Read more from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Native American Tribal Law

  • 08.25.19The Cherokee Nation wants a representative in Congress, taking the US government up on a promise it made nearly 200 years ago
    The Cherokee Nation announced Thursday that it intends to appoint a delegate to the US House of Representatives, asserting for the first time a right promised to the tribe in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government.
    Read more from CNN

Pharmaceuticals

  • 10.31.19Kentucky Attorney General Settles with Bayer Over Alleged Failure to Disclose Risks Associated with Oral Contraceptives
    Kentucky AG Andy Beshear reached a settlement with Bayer Corporation (“Bayer”) to resolve allegations that Bayer misled consumers about risks associated with certain birth control products in violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.16.19Purdue Pharma, Accused Of Fueling Opioid Crisis, Files For Chapter 11
    The bankruptcy follows the Sackler family, which owns Purdue, agreeing to surrender control of the company and offering $3 billion in cash to opioid-hit communities.
    Read more from NPR

  • 09.13.19New York AG Says Sacklers Transferred $1B From Pharma Accounts To Themselves
    The revelation comes after almost two dozen states reached a tentative settlement with the maker of OxyContin.
    Read more from NPR

  • 09.12.19Texas Attorney General Sues Opioid Manufacturer Over Alleged Medicaid Fraud
    Texas AG Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and related entities (collectively, "J&J") over allegations that it made misrepresentations regarding an opioid drug to the state Medicaid program in violation of state Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.
    Read more on The State AG Report

  • 08.29.19Oklahoma Attorney General Obtains Favorable Judgment in Opioid Trial
    Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter obtained a favorable judgment against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries (collectively, “J&J”) over allegations that J&J created a public nuisance by contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic in Oklahoma.
    Read more on The State AG Report

  • 08.05.19AG Brnovich Files New Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Against Insys Founder and Former Executives
    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an Arizona Consumer Fraud Act lawsuit against three former executives of opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics Inc., which is based in Chandler. The lawsuit alleges that the three named defendants, including the founder of the company, engaged in a fraudulent marketing scheme designed to increase the sales of Insy's flagship drug, Subsys, a highly addictive opioid prescription drug that contains fentanyl.

  • 08.05.19Michigan to Join $700 Million Multi-state Settlement With Opioid Drug Manufacturer
    Thirty-three attorneys general have reached an agreement in principle to settle allegations that pharmaceutical manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group (Reckitt) improperly marketed and promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds. Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine (an opioid) and naloxone (blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief and feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse). The drug was approved to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as part of a complete withdrawal treatment plan that would include counseling and psychosocial support.
    Source: State of Michigan

  • 07.16.1976 Billion Opioid Pills: Newly Released Federal Data Unmasks the Epidemic
    Newly released federal data showed 76 billion opioids were distributed between 2006 and 2012.
    Source: The Washington Post

  • 07.15.19Opioid ‘Negotiation Class Action’ Under Consideration in Cleveland Court Should be Rejected: Perry Zinn Rowthorn and George Jepsen (Opinion)
    Former Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson contends that the opioid "negotiation class action" under consideration in a Cleveland, Ohio court should be rejected, while others claim the proposed negotiating class would be beneficial to communities nationwide.

  • 05.31.19Leader Of Opioid Distribution Ring Sentenced To 15 Years In Federal Prison
    Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Paul Byron has sentenced Trevor John (39, Palm Bay) to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, hydromorphone, and heroin.
    Read more from The United States Department of Justice

  • 05.31.19Pharmaceutical Company Admits to Price Fixing in Violation of Antitrust Law, Resolves Related False Claims Act Violations
    Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., a generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in Eatontown, New Jersey, was charged for conspiring with its competitors to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers, the Department of Justice announced today.
    Read more from The United States Department of Justice

  • 05.30.19Oklahoma Attorney General Settles With Another Opioid Manufacturer
    Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter announced a settlement with opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its subsidiaries Cephalon, Inc., Watson Laboratories, Inc., Actavis, LLC, and Actavis Pharma, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc. (collectively, “Teva”) to resolve allegations that it engaged in deceptive marketing and misrepresented the risks of prescription opioid use in violation of the state’s Medicaid False Claims Act, Medicaid Program Integrity Act, Consumer Protection Act, and the common law.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Securities

  • 06.28.19Attorneys General Settle With Brokerage Firm for Allegedly Selling Unregistered Securities
    A multistate coalition coordinated by the North American Securities Administrators Association and led by Massachusetts and Alabama reached a settlement with brokerage firm LPL Financial LLC ("LPL") to resolve allegations that it sold unregistered securities in violation of the states' securities laws.
    Read more from the New York Attorney General

  • 06.27.19Massachusetts Attorney General, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Settle With Financial Services Provider for Allegedly Overcharging Clients
    Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") reached a settlement with financial services provider State Street Bank and Trust Company ("State Street") to resolve allegations that it overcharged clients.

State AGs in the News

  • 05.30.19Oklahoma Enacts Bill Requiring Attorney General Settlement Funds Be Paid Directly to State Treasury
    Oklahoma has enacted a law, Enrolled H.B. 2751, that requires any settlement funds from lawsuits in which the AG represents the interests of the state to be paid directly to the state treasury so that state legislators can decide how the funds are spent.
    Read more from The State AG Report

State v. Federal

  • 10.03.19Court Upholds FCC Repeal of Net Neutrality Rule, Rejects Preemption of State Action
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit partially upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) authority to repeal its 2015 net neutrality rule—a rule intended to prevent internet service providers form imposing content-based restrictions or pricing on internet traffic.
    Read more from The State AG Report

  • 09.19.1917 Attorneys General Oppose Department of Education Policy; New Jersey Attorney General Seeks to Compel Student Loan and Other Information from Department of Education
    A coalition of 17 AGs, led by New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal, wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) expressing concerns regarding ED’s recent decision to restrict state law enforcement agencies’ access to ED records and the National Student Loan Data System (“NSLDS”).

  • 05.31.19Bipartisan Coalition of 52 Attorneys General Urge U.S. Department of Education to Discharge Student Loans for Disabled Veterans
    The National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) sent a letter, signed by a bipartisan coalition of 52 AGs, to the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) urging it to automatically discharge the student loans of veterans who are eligible for total and permanent disability (“TPD”) discharge.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Transportation

  • 07.31.19Dealing With the Dockless Scooter
    They are a big business, a big problem, and they both aid and impede transportation. The challenge is to put them in their place, and there is a solution.
    Read more from the Connecticut Law Tribune

Utilities

  • 09.19.19Washington Attorney General Seeks Consumer Refunds from Electric and Gas Supplier
    The office of Washington AG Bob Ferguson is seeking customer refunds from electric and gas supplier Avista Corporation (“Avista”) for allegedly overcharging consumers.
    Read more from The State AG Report

Violent Crime

  • 07.31.19U.S. Attorney's Office to Take Part in 36th Annual National Night Out
    Roanoke, Virginia — United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen will join law enforcement, community leaders, and residents on Tuesday, August 6th in Bristol, Virginia, to celebrate the 36th annual National Night Out crime and drug-prevention event. Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office will also attend events in Roanoke, Roanoke County, Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Lynchburg, Bedford County, Tazewell County, Albemarle County, Pulaski, Marion, Waynesboro, Winchester, Salem, and Abingdon.
    Source: United State's Department of Justice

  • 06.04.19Justice Department Announces Addition of Ten Cities and Counties as Part of the National Public Safety Partnership to Combat Violent Crime
    United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that as the Department of Justice continues its efforts to fulfill President Donald J. Trump's commitment to reducing violent crime in America, Attorney General William P. Barr announced Baton Rouge as one of 10 new National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) sites in areas with elevated crime rates. The partnership provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.
    Read more from The United States Department of Justice