Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 24 state attorneys general filed a supplemental letter concerning a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission initiative that requires companies to make disclosures related to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition contends that the West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency Supreme Court decision confirms that only Congress has the ability to decide such issues.
  • A multistate coalition of attorneys general submitted a comment letter supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations to ban the use of and protect consumers from exposure to asbestos. The proposed regulations would prohibit the manufacture, processing, import, distribution or use of chrysotile asbestos in certain products. The coalition supports this and urges the EPA to go further by banning other forms of the substance and avoiding promoting the substitution of PFAS for asbestos.
  • A coalition of 12 state attorneys general filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asking the court to strike down the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2022 Regulation entitled “Energy Conservation Program: Product Classes for Residential Dishwashers, Residential Clothes Washers, and Consumer Clothes Dryers.” The Regulation replaced a 2020 rule that governed newer washing machines and dishwashers with shorter wash times, which the coalition maintains was more appropriate.
  • A coalition of 10 state attorneys general urged Congress to respect states’ roles in enforcing and providing for consumer privacy laws while advancing federal legislation related to privacy protections. Specifically, the coalition is seeking to enact laws that do not preempt state legislation that addresses changing technology.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut Attorney General Tong announced a $1.8 million settlement with Eversource, resolving allegations that the company engaged in false and deceptive high-pressure tactics to enlist consumers to convert to natural gas. The allegations centered around a notice Eversource circulated, which stated that consumers would no longer be able to convert to natural gas during a paving moratorium. These notices were sent to towns where no such moratoria exists.

District of Columbia

  • Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine filed a lawsuit against janitorial companies Jan-Pro Franchising International and Jan-Pro of Washington, D.C. for allegedly operating a franchising scheme that misclassified janitorial employees as independent contractors. Attorney General Racine is alleging that this conduct resulted in the employees being illegally denied wages and paid sick leave. The lawsuit seeks damages, injunctive relief, and statutory penalties.

Illinois

  • Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced an interim consent order with Sugar Camp Energy LLC over its alleged release of PFAS “forever chemicals” in firefighting foams from a coal mine in Southern Illinois. The order requires Sugar Camp Energy to test its facility’s ponds for PFAS and install new treatment systems to remove PFAS from wastewater. It also restricts the transfer or discharge of water from ponds that are contaminated with PFAS.

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced that diagnostic laboratory company BioReference Health, LLC and its corporate parent OPKO Health, Inc. will pay $10 million to Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as the federal government to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations of self-referrals and the filing of false claims that were submitted to Medicare, MassHealth and Connecticut Medicaid.

Michigan

  • Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that she is relaunching a power outage feedback form, which consumers can use to provide feedback to the Department of the Attorney General after a power outage. AG Nessel will use the information gathered from the feedback forms to advocate Michigan residents before the Michigan Public Service Commission, stating “Summertime in Michigan should not correlate with expected and prolonged outages. Residents deserve reliable service and speedy restoration when outages occur.”

New York

  • New York Attorney General James announced a $500,000 settlement with Manhattan bar Sweet and Vicious and its owner after an investigation found that it maintained a hostile and discriminatory workplace. The agreement also requires that the business revise their anti-discrimination and harassment training materials and to display and distribute notices about anti-discrimination and harassment rights and responsibilities.
  • New York Attorney General James filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against six gun distributors who were selling and bringing parts of illegal ghost guns into New York. Attorney General James is seeking a court order that requires the businesses to stop supplying unfinished frames or receivers to any entity or individual with a New York address.

Washington

  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that under a consent decree, staffing company Tradesmen International LLC must pay $287,100 in restitution and end its existing non-compete agreements that restrict employee job mobility. The company must also notify employees who began working there after January 1, 2020, when the non-compete ban went into effect, that the agreements are no longer enforceable, as well as to notify those who are still subject to these agreements.

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey issued an alert warning against price gouging after reports of major flooding in southern areas of the state. The state’s price gouging law went into effect after a state of emergency was declared in McDowell County.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 22 state attorneys general called on the heads of the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture to take swift action to eliminate toxic heavy metals in baby food. The letter outlines key strategies for the federal agencies that would allow them to take immediate and widespread action to drive down the levels of dangerous toxic metals in food for babies and young children.
  • A multistate coalition of 15 state attorneys general sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, responding to its request for comments on possible causes of the nationwide baby formula shortage. In the letter, the coalition specifically responded to the commission’s request for information concerning “the impact of FDA regulations” on the shortage, as well as the impact of state competitive bidding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
  • A coalition of 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Lowery v. Joffe, a case that stems from the settlement of a 2010 class action lawsuit where plaintiffs alleged that Google’s Street View cars collected millions of consumers’ private data from their WiFi networks without consumers’ knowledge. The parties settled and created a $13 million fund, but the affected consumers have not received any proceeds from the fund.
  • 12 state attorneys general filed a brief in a lawsuit against the United States Department of Energy, asking the court to vacate the 2022 rulemaking called “Energy Conservation Program: Product Classes for Residential Dishwashers, Residential Clothes Washers, and Consumer Clothes Dryers.” The brief argues the DOE’s rule violates the EPCA, is arbitrary and capricious, fails to adequately explain the change in policy, doesn’t sufficiently consider reliance interests, and does not supply enough rationale for the DOE’s refusal to create specific standards for performance classes. The suit argues that the rulemaking rolls back 2020 regulations that created a new class for washing machines with shorter wash times and dishwashers with cycle times of 60 minutes or less.

Connecticut

  • Alongside Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman, Attorney General William Tong announced a $3 million settlement with Public Power. The settlement resolves allegations that the company failed to publish “next cycle rate” information as required by law, thus denying consumers the chance to switch to another supplier to avoid a rate increase. As part of the agreement, Public Power and its sister companies will permanently exit the electric supplier market.
  • Attorney General Tong issued a news release that urged consumers to be wary of potentially deceptive doorknob hangers asking residents to provide water samples for testing. These doorknob hangers reportedly contain a survey card requesting that consumers complete a survey and fill the vial with a sample of their home’s tap water for testing, but do not identify the nature of the solicitor’s business and are not affiliated with any government public health authority or any official water quality warning or advisory.

Florida

  • Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution secured a multi-year prison sentence for a defendant who used stolen personal information to defraud a senior out of nearly $62,000. The defendant worked with an accomplice to trick a bank into sending a replacement credit card, which was then used by the defendant to purchase items that were not for the senior.
  • Attorney General Moody launched the Summer Scams Series, which outlines common scams seen during the summer months, with a video alert about vacation rental scams. These scams involve false postings offering vacation rental properties, with the scammers often requesting an application fee or security deposit.
  • Continuing the Summer Scams Series, Attorney General Moody issued a consumer alert to warn Floridians about potential online shopping scams. Scammers mimic summer sales to target consumers with malware, phishing texts and other messages designed to steal personal or financial information.

Kentucky

  • Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued tips for service members, veterans, and their families to avoid financial scams. These tips highlighted identity theft, home rental scams, and impersonation scams.

Maryland

  • Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and his Consumer Protection Division reached a settlement of civil charges against Frederick County furniture sellers who were collectively charged with violating the Consumer Protection Act for collecting deposits and other monies from consumers to build custom furniture, and then failing to either provide consumers their ordered goods or to refund their money. The companies were also accused of going out of business to avoid repaying consumers, only to reopen under new names.

New Hampshire

  • Attorney General John Formella announced that a business called Camps for Grownups, LTD entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced on one felony count of committing unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act. The business admitted to sending email solicitations, which encouraged consumers to register for a Jazz Camp and maintaining a website that allowed new consumers to register for the Jazz Camp that was scheduled to take place in 2019, despite knowing that the business lacked sufficient funds or a reasonable anticipated source of future funding to hold the camp as advertised.

New Jersey

  • Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced the creation of a Reproductive Rights Strike Force, which will initiate civil and criminal enforcement actions and develop other strategic initiatives to protect access to reproductive health care and abortion care for New Jersey residents and residents of other states who travel to New Jersey to access such care. The Strike Force will work with the Office of the Attorney General to coordinate enforcement actions across the entire Department of Law and Public Safety.

New York

  • Attorney General Letitia James announced that she has reached an agreement with New York City landlord SGW Properties LLC and their related LLCs for failing to return approximately $296,272 in security deposits to New Yorkers following new changes to security deposit laws. Attorney General James found that SGW failed to comply with the 2019 changes to the state’s rental laws when they did not return security deposits to 129 tenants within 14 days of the tenant vacating the apartment or provide a written itemized list of their reasons for keeping the deposit.
  • Attorney General James announced that her office recovered more than $122,000 for more than 690 consumers in New York City who paid for expedited COVID-19 tests but received their results later than the promised 24-hour timeframe.

Ohio

  • Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit seeking to squash a scheme responsible for bombarding U.S. consumers with billions of illegal robocalls. The complaint, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Ohio, names 22 defendants led by individuals who have previously been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for similar robocall practices. The Federal Communications Commission also issued cease and desist letters to some of the same targets in AG Yost’s complaint.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • 23 states and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with SavaSeniorCare LLC, a company that owns and operates skilled nursing facilities in several states, resolving allegations that it billed Medicaid for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services and offered substandard nursing services. Sava will pay the states and the federal government at least $11.2 million.
  • A coalition of state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed a petition for review challenging the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE) for certain cars and light trucks. According to the petition, the regulation seeks to impose substantial increases, in the number of electric vehicles on roads nationwide, with ramifications that will be felt throughout the automobile industry. The petition argues that the NHTSA violated the express statutory prohibition on its mandating electric vehicles in setting the CAFE standards. It also argues that the rule implicates state sovereignty interests.

California

  • The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that AB 1887 prohibits a state agency, department, board, or commission from requiring any state employees, officers, or members to travel to a state that supports or finances discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (a)(5). The law also requires the Attorney General to develop, maintain, and post on his website a current list of states that are subject to the travel ban, which can be found here.

Colorado

  • Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that the state will recover $5 million from a multistate settlement with Mallinckrodt, a company which sells and markets pharmaceutical products throughout the nation. The settlement resolved allegations that the company knowingly underpaid Medicaid rebates due for its drug H.P. Acthar Gel, a gel that is used for the treatment of chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions. Of the total amount that Colorado recovered, $2.9 million will be returned to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The additional dollars will be returned to the federal government, which also helps fund Medicaid in the states.
  • Attorney General Phil Weiser submitted a group borrower defense application to the U.S. Department of Education to cancel the federal student loan debt of more than 10,000 students who attended schools operated by the Center for Excellence in Higher Education from 2006 through its abrupt closure in 2021. According to the application, (1) the school overstated employment placement rates; (2) the potential to earn a higher income or better job after attending a CEHE school; (3) and the affordability and benefits of obtaining a private educational loan through CEHE.

Florida

  • Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a consent final judgment with Louis Bruno and his business Bruno, LLC, known as Bruno Total Home Performance and Bruno Air Conditioning, resolving allegations that the defendants used aggressive and deceptive sales practices that resulted in significant financial harm to Florida consumers, including a large number of senior citizens. According to the complaint,  the allegedly deceptive practices involve (1) upselling unnecessary HVAC systems and (2) setting up financing agreements with terms and liens on homes that consumers did not understand. If entered by the court, the order will enjoin the defendants from a number of activities, including conducting HVAC business in the state. In addition, the defendants will be required to pay more than $1 million in monetary relief.
  • Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the filing of a joint complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against C Lee Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Grant Bae and its owner for allegedly violating the FTC Act, the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by targeting minority-owned small businesses with claims that customers could access millions of dollars in grant funding after paying for the defendants’ services. According to the complaint, defendants engaged in a number of deceptive actions including, (1) falsely promising significant returns; (2) misleading customers about grant status; (3) deceiving customers about access to grants; (4) lying about prior success; and (5) failing to provide promised refunds.

Illinois

  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a statement on the mass shooting that took place at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. Attorney General Raoul highlighted the devastating nature of the mass shooting and reaffirmed his commitment to “working with law enforcement partners to prevent the mass tragedies” and continuing to “collaborate with federal law enforcement, such as the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center to ensure that community and faith leaders have access to training that can help prevent these horrific mass casualty events.”

Iowa

  • The office of Attorney General Tom Miller released a reminder stating that Iowa’s first elder abuse criminal law went into effect on July 1st. Senate File 522 defines elder abuse as “the abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, isolation, or sexual exploitation of an older individual” — a person 60 years or older — and establishes penalties ranging from a serious misdemeanor to a Class B felony, depending on the circumstances and resulting injuries of the abuse.  

Massachusetts

  • Attorney General Maura Healey announced a consent judgment with Utility Expense Reduction, LLC (UER), a retail electricity supplier, resolving allegations that the company violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act when it knowingly avoided its obligation to make required payments under the state’s renewable and clean energy programs. In addition, UER’s conduct allegedly violated the Consumer Protection Act and several environmental statutes, including the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, the Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and the Clean Air Act. Under the terms of the agreement, UER has paid over $1.65 million, including restitution and penalties, and will not operate in Massachusetts for five years.
  • Attorney General Maura Healey announced a settlement with NH Title Group, Inc. f/k/a Massachusetts Title Loan, Inc. and Capital Title Loan, a motor vehicle title lender, resolving allegations that it charged Massachusetts borrowers usurious interest rates for small dollar automobile title loans and engaged in unlawful debt collection and automobile repossession practices. Under the terms of the settlement, NH Title Group, Inc. will pay $500,000 in restitution and penalties and has forgiven over $400,000 in outstanding loan balances and post-repossession deficiency obligations.

Michigan

  • Attorney General Dana Nessel announced an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with a number of operators of hotel operators and tourism ground around Mackinaw City resolving allegations that consumers booked hotel rooms that, while advertised as available and the reservations ultimately confirmed, were closed without notice to the consumer. In these instances, customers’ attempts to secure refunds were often unsuccessful. The settlement provides consumers with injunctive relief and defendants are responsible for about $65,000 in monetary relief. 

Pennsylvania

  • Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement with PalmCo Energy PA, LLC and PalmCo Power PA, LLC (which do business under the name Indra Energy in Pennsylvania), retail energy suppliers, resolving allegations of illegal telemarketing practices. According to the settlement, Indra Energy, through its vendors, violated telemarketing laws by: (1) repeatedly calling numbers registered on the Do-Not-Call list; (2) delivering pre-recorded messages to numbers on the Do-Not-Call list; (3) failing to obtain an “express request” from consumers on the Do-Not-Call list prior to calling them; (4) using misleading offers regarding energy savings and rebates; and (5) engaging in deceptive practices in connection with requests to be contacted for purposes of telemarketing solicitations. Under the terms of the settlement, Indra Energy must pay $185,900, which includes payments of $100 to each of the 9 consumers who filed a telemarketing complaint against Indra Energy. The company is also prohibited from making unwanted telemarketing calls

New Jersey

  • Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to discharge all remaining federal student loan obligations for students who were defrauded by Corinthian Colleges will allow 4,660 New Jersey borrowers who attended the schools to receive a total of $48.8 million in full student loan cancellations. Nationwide, the federal government’s action means that approximately 560,000 borrowers will receive $5.8 billion in full loan discharges.

New York

  • Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement with Wegmans, the grocery store chain, resolving allegations that a data breach exposed more than 830,000 consumers’ personal information. According to the settlement, Wegmans maintained the personal information in misconfigured cloud storage platforms that were vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Pursuant to the settlement, Wegmans will be required to pay $400,000 in penalties and adopt new measures to protect consumers’ personal information in the future.
  • Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against 10 gun distributors for selling tens of thousands of illegal, unfinished frames and receivers to New Yorkers that were then converted into unserialized, untraceable handguns and assault-style weapons, known as ghost guns. The complaint alleges violations of a number of laws, including the state’s licensing laws. In addition, Attorney General James is invoking a newly enacted Public Nuisance statute to hold the gun distributors responsible.
  • Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Google calling on the company to correct search results that direct individuals seeking abortions to dangerous or misleading anti-abortion clinics in the state. According to the letter, Google fails to distinguish between facilities that offer abortion services and those that do not, which could lead individuals seeking abortions to visit crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) for care. Google is allegedly aware of these issues and has previously promised to address them. For instance, in 2018, Google agreed to investigate reports of CPCs included in abortion searches on Google Maps. In 2019, the company stated that human analysts were working on deciphering which facilities offer abortion and those that work to interfere with a pregnant persons’ decision.

Vermont

  • Attorney General Susanne Young and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the approval of a settlement with a McDonald’s franchisee, resolving allegations that defendants failed to protect workers from being sexually harassed. The settlement requires Coughlin, Inc., a McDonald’s restaurant franchisee, to pay $1.6 million in damages and state penalties and to substantially reform its business practices under a five-year consent decree.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 22 state attorneys general, led by Virginia Attorney General Miyares, submitted a bipartisan letter to Congress urging them to take action regarding copycat THC food items. These food products contain tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, and are designed and packaged to appear similar to popular snacks, such as Oreo cookies or Doritos chips. On June 16, the FDA issued a warning stating that between January and May the National Poison Control Center received over ten thousand single substance exposure cases involving edible products containing THC. Although the state attorneys general do not agree on the best regulatory scheme for cannabis and THC, they have agreed that copycat THC edibles pose a risk to the health and safety of children and some action should be taken by Congress.
  • A coalition of 46 attorneys general announced a $1.25 million multistate settlement with Carnival Cruise Line stemming from a 2019 data breach involving the personal information of approximately 180,000 Carnival employees and customers. Carnival publicly reported this data breach in March 2020 stating an unauthorized actor gained access to Carnival employee e-mail accounts and personal information. Carnival has agreed to settlement provisions designed to strengthen its email security and breach response practices going forward.
  • A coalition of 22 state attorneys general submitted a letter to FDA Commissioner Califf, Deputy Commissioner Yiannis, and USDA Secretary Vilsack outlining steps that the agencies should take to address the dangerous levels of toxic metals found in baby food. The letter calls for swift action and condemns the FDA’s failure to adequately regulate baby food. The letter follows a state attorneys general petition of the FDA last October, which was denied in June 2022. This letter asks for reconsideration of the petition.

California

  • California Attorney General Bonta announced new and updated firearms data made available through the California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal. The update will improve information sharing for firearms related data, such as the issuance of Concealed Carry Weapons permits and Gun Violence Restraining Orders.

Colorado

  • Colorado Attorney General Weiser announced that Red Rocks Credit Union refunded Coloradans over $300,000 after the credit union failed to refund money related to unearned guaranteed automobile protection (GAP) premiums. Red Rocks Credit Union reached a settlement with consumers in early 2022 and was released from any further legal action from the Office of the Attorney General by paying full refunds plus interest to consumers.

District of Columbia

  • District of Columbia Attorney General Racine issued a consumer alert regarding data privacy related to abortion access. The Office of the Attorney General warned that online abortion related searching, online medication ordering and using apps to track menstrual cycles may all collect data that could be used as evidence in lawsuits. The Office further provided no-cost measures to help keep personal information private.

Florida

  • Florida Attorney General Moody issued a consumer alert warning Floridians about online cryptocurrency investment scams, specifically on LinkedIn’s platform. The alert highlighted LinkedIn’s recent warning about a rise in fraudulent activity.

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey released new guidance for residents and small business owners on solar energy. The guidance is designed to help consumers consider solar options and avoid potential pitfalls when contracting for solar products. The guidance was created following a series of workshops between the Office of the Attorney General and solar industry discussing best practices. 

New Jersey

  • New Jersey Acting Attorney General Platkin announced three local officials from Wildwood, N.J., have been criminally charged for fraudulently participating in the State Health Benefits Program. The three local officials were investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability because employer-provided healthcare is only available for full-time employees.

Ohio

  • Ohio Attorney General Yost’s Robocall Enforcement Unit issued warning letters to ten Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers who may be engaging in illegal conduct. The letters serve to put the VoIP providers on notice of the relevant laws in Ohio prohibiting various types of robocalls and telemarketing.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro filed charges against contractor Michael Bloom. Bloom entered into contracts with Pennsylvania residents for the installation of elevators and did not follow through with the contracted work. The damages to Pennsylvanians totals over $80,000.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 50 state attorneys general, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia announced a settlement against global pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt, resolving allegations that from January 2013 until June 2020 it violated state and federal law by knowingly underpaying Medicaid rebates for H.P. Acthar Gel. The settlement includes a $233.7 million payment.
  • A coalition of 24 state attorneys general filed comments about a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission initiative, which would mandate that companies make disclosures about greenhouse gas emissions and how the risk of climate change affects their businesses. The attorneys general are arguing that the disclosures are not related to financial performance and would impose significant burden on the affected companies.
  • A coalition of 20 state attorneys general also commented in support of the above U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission initiative. The coalition is arguing that the required disclosures are essential to protect financial systems both in the U.S. and globally against risk associated with climate change and to safeguard investors.

Arizona

  • Arizona Attorney General Brnovich announced that his office filed a lawsuit against two Midas locations after undercover investigations allegedly revealed that they charged for unnecessary services and did not perform some of these services. The lawsuit seeks restitution, civil penalties, injunctive relief, and fees and costs.

District of Columbia

  • Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine filed a civil rights lawsuit against the District of Columbia Housing Authority, alleging that the agency discriminated against individuals with disabilities and failed to provide needed accommodations for public housing tenants, such as transfers to wheelchair accessible units.

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced that former outpatient behavioral health provider Pathways of Massachusetts and its former corporate parent Molina Healthcare, Inc. must pay $4.6 million to resolve false claims allegations. The company allegedly caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to MassHealth for behavioral health services provided by improperly supervised and unlicensed staff members.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced that her office filed a lawsuit against nursing home Sea View Retreat, Inc. and its owner. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants did not comply with state and federal laws, regulations, and rules required to protect residents from COVID-19, from February to June 2020.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey released guidance to help residents and small business owners who are considering solar energy. Part of the guidance is intended to help them avoid “consumer pitfalls” when entering contracts.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey Acting Attorney General Platkin announced that the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a Summary Cease and Desist Order to National Realty Investment Advisors, LLC and related entities and individuals, after it determined that the company fraudulently sold $630 million or more in securities.

New York

  • New York Attorney General James issued a consumer alert reminding New Yorkers of the Gas Tax Holiday Act of 2022, which requires gas stations to suspend excise tax, prepaid sales tax, and state sale and use taxes on motor and highway diesel motor fuel to address rising prices.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro announced that his office filed a lawsuit against home improvement company Curtis Total Service, Inc. and two associated individuals. The lawsuit alleges that the company engaged in misleading sales practices to induce consumers to purchase unnecessary home improvements and misled consumers about cancelling contracts.

For questions about this post, please contact our contributors: Toni Michelle JacksonLauren B. Aronson, and Holly Melton.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 31 attorneys general urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject marketing authorization for all non-tobacco nicotine products, which are currently being sold without regulatory constraints on their contents, manufacturing, health effects or marketing claims. Should the FDA grant marketing authorization to such products, the coalition insists that the FDA must impose the same restrictions required of tobacco-derived nicotine products.

Arizona

  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that an antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue Airlines will move forward after a federal judge rejected the airlines’ motion to dismiss. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office joined a coalition of six states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and U.S. Department of Justice in filing this lawsuit alleging that the airlines are engaging in anticompetitive coordination that will lead to higher fares and less customer service for consumers.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut Attorney General William Tong sued Reynolds Consumer Products for violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, claiming that the company falsely and deceptively marketed its garbage bags as Hefty “Recycling Bags” despite full knowledge that the bags were unable to be processed at recycling facilities in Connecticut. AG Tong alleged that the bags were no more recyclable than any other Hefty garbage bag.

Florida

  • Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody published a video warning about an new text message scam offering a “free gift” for paying a bill on time. She reminds Floridians that they should not  use links from unknown phone numbers or reply to suspicious messages.

Georgia

  • Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr warned Georgians about text message scams, including texts from unknown or unexpected senders, with links that request payment or other sensitive information.

Iowa

  • Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller reported that Iowans have received at least $178.67 million in restitution and other relief over the past ten years. This amount was provided in response to a letter sent to ranking members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on April 14; includes $169.69 million in consumer restitution from multistate settlements, consent decrees and other judgments, and assurances of voluntary compliance,  and $8.97 million in savings to consumers obtained through complaint mediation.

Maine

  • The Office of the Maine Attorney General Danna Hayes successfully prosecuted an online e-cigarette retailer for tobacco sales in contravention of Maine law, which require that all tobacco products be sold in face-to-face transactions. 

Michigan

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a notice of intended action against E & B Contracting following suspected price gouging after last month’s tornado in Gaylord.

Missouri

  • Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt subpoenaed seven school districts, demanding information on their decision to employ student surveys, potentially without parental consent, that asked students about their parents’ political beliefs and income levels; and included racially-biased questions. The Office also launched a transparency portal that indexes Sunshine Law requests sent by parents to school districts.

Nevada

  • In recognition of World Elder Abuse Day, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced that his office received a $279,250 grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to facilitate training and services related to stopping elder abuse.

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella and Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan publicized reports of a new scam that uses the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s logo and an email address: “NHDOT DBE fgmas82@yahoo.com.” The scam encourages recipients to download an attachment that it claims is a “secure document”.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein published a column about home repair scams, where he provides tips about avoiding scams as home repair costs and demands for repair rise and many North Carolinians struggle to find a qualified contractor.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the Pennsylvania Senate confirmed Patrick Cicero as Pennsylvania’s Consumer Advocate. Cicero was nominated in December 2021, and is the first confirmed Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate since 2012.
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a new consumer guide outlining the legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Pennsylvania, entitled the Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights to ensure every Pennsylvania resident has access to clear and accurate information when renting a home.

Washington

  • Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a South Carolina company that duped Washingtonians into paying $30,000 for a deceptive online training program. The company, Prehired LLC, made the following representation in its marketing materials: “We guarantee you land a $60k+ job offer (from a tech company YOU choose).” The Office alleges that the representation is false and deceptive.
  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that, as a result of his lawsuit against US Stemology, the company and its owner cannot advertise, market, or receive any payment for unproven stem cell treatments. US Stemology also must pay $500,000 to the Attorney General’s Office, which will be paid to US Stemology’s victims as restitution for unproven stem cell treatments.

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey offered tips to consumers following multiple reports of scammers using robocalls to target West Virginians. The tips provide tell West Virginians what to do when they receive a scam call.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A coalition of 41 state attorneys general issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) applauding its ongoing work to combat robocalls and pledging to make a good faith effort to join an information-sharing agreement with the FCC. The letter commended the FCC’s leadership in encouraging states to join information-sharing agreements and said the opportunity honors our country’s tradition of federalism and demonstrates a commitment to addressing complex issues collaboratively. While not all attorneys general who signed the letter have entered into agreements, the letter demonstrates their commitment to do so. Those who previously signed an information-sharing agreement with the FCC reaffirmed, in the letter, their commitment to work collaboratively in the future.
  • A coalition of 21 state attorneys general issued a letter opposing the Army Corps of Engineer’s proposed review of Nationwide Permit 12 (“NWP 12”), a permit that serves energy and infrastructure needs within states by allowing entities to perform time-sensitive activities on infrastructure projects, such as construction and maintenance of projects, without project-specific approval. The letter argues that altering NWP 12 will harm existing infrastructure projects and “threaten the delivery of reliable energy, existing pipeline safety, and the ability to comply with other federal laws and regulations.” The letter asserts that amidst rising energy prices, continuity of work on projects that provide energy and infrastructure are critical, and that the disruption of said work on projects would target everyday Americans.  

California

  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta celebrated the Department of Education’s (“ED”) decision to grant federal student loan relief to 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges, a defunct for-profit college that allegedly targeted low-income, vulnerable students through false advertisements that misrepresented job placement rates and the value of its educational programs. The California Attorney’s General Office filed a lawsuit against Corinthian Colleges in 2013 that resulted in a $1.1 billion judgment. The Office also brought an action against the ED in 2017 for withholding promised loan relief to defrauded Corinthian students.
  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a consumer alert warning Californians that price gouging baby formula is illegal, in light of the Governor’s executive order establishing protections against price gouging for families struggling to access safe and affordable baby formula. 

Illinois

  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced the office’s first-ever hate crime lawsuit against Chad Hampton and Cheryl Hampton, two white Carroll County residents, who allegedly committed a hate crime by intimidation and disorderly conduct. The complaint alleges that Defendants spent months intimidating their neighbor, a black man, which eventually culminated into defendants using a noose to lynch a model of their neighbor from the tree in their front yard. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and equitable relief. In addition, the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s office has charged Chad Hampton with criminal destruction of property and Cheryl Hampton with criminal harassment of a witness.
  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced an action against several staffing agencies and their mutual client over allegations that the six staffing agencies formed an unlawful agreement through which they refused to hire each other’s employees (“no-poach agreements”). Attorney General Raoul seeks an injunction to immediately stop the illegal no-poach agreement, as well as civil penalties and damages.

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a settlement with Dr. Hooshang Poor, a Newton physician, resolving allegations that he failed to check the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool before prescribing narcotics to patients, including those with a history of documented substance use. Dr. Hooshang Poor will be required to pay a total of $100,000, with half of the settlement going to the federal government and the remaining going to the state’s Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin filed a lawsuit and a separate action with the State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling  against Capri Institute, a cosmetology school in the state, alleging that the school defrauded students, engaged in substandard business practices that financially harmed students, and failed to meet regulations and curriculum requirements for cosmetology schools.
  • New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced a settlement with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses settling allegations that the national retailer engaged in pregnancy-related workplace discrimination, including failing to provide a suitable place for a former employee to express breast milk. The Defendant must pay the former employee $35,000.

New York

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a crackdown on firearms sellers illegally selling and advertising gun parts that are used to create homemade, untraceable firearms (“ghost guns”). An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General found that 28 firearms sellers in the state advertised and/or offered to sell the illegal products. The Office issued cease-and-desist letters to all 28 dealers, ordering the businesses to immediately stop advertising and selling the prohibited parts and warned of the legal consequences, including imprisonment, if they do not comply.
  • New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an agreement with Verizon New York Inc. that will require the company to take actions that will prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease in the state.  Legionnaires’ is a type of lung infection that can be deadly and can be spread by poorly monitored or operated building cooling towers. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General found that since 2017, there were at least 225 alleged violations of city and state laws at 45 of Verizon’s cooling tower locations throughout the state. The company allegedly failed to conduct testing, address positive test results, and clean and inspect the cooling towers by required deadlines. Verizon is required to adopt official policies and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance with the state’s laws and is required to pay a $118,000 penalty.
  • New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Bobby’s Towing and its owner and operator, for allegedly illegally towing cars, overcharging for towing fees, falsifying tow tickets, and making racist and derogatory comments to vehicle owners. Attorney General James is seeking injunctive relief, restitution, and disgorgement, among other remedies.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a settlement with Healthkeeperz, Inc., a behavioral health care provider, to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by billing claims that were not reimbursable to Medicaid programs. Healthkeeperz is required to pay $2.1 million.

Washington

  • Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that that Washington Election Integrity Coalition United (WEICU) and its attorney, Virginia Shogren, have been ordered to pay sanctions for pursuing a frivolous legal challenge of the 2020 election, which included allegations that non-citizens were fraudulently registered to vote. WEICU is required to pay approximately $9,588 and Shogren is required to pay $18,795.

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a consent judgment against Thomas A. Moore, an attorney based in California, and Moore Legal Center, his corporation, resolving allegations that Defendants violated West Virginia’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act by accepting payments in return for the promise that it could settle consumers’ debt for less than what was owed. According to the action, most consumers never had their debts settled by Mr. Moore. Defendants are required to pay $500,000 and cease and desist all debt settlement activities in West Virginia.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

California

  • California Attorney General Bonta filed an amicus brief in support of local prosecutors’ authority to enforce state consumer protection laws against national banks in People v. Credit One. Credit One filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to throw out a California state court lawsuit alleging Credit One violated California’s Unfair Competition Law relating to illegal debt collection. Attorney General Bonta urges the Ninth Circuit to uphold the district court’s ruling dismissing Credit One’s federal challenge to the district attorneys’ state court unfair competition case.
  • California Attorney General Bonta emphasized health apps’ obligations under California law to protect and secure reproductive health information. The Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) applies to mobile apps that are designed to store medical information. The CMIA is a state law that applies to businesses that offer a mobile application or other related device, like wearable technology, that is designed to maintain medical information, even if these businesses do not have similar obligations under federal health privacy laws.  

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey filed a lawsuit against thirteen manufactures of “toxic forever” chemicals (poly- and perfluoroalkyl, PFAS) for causing millions of dollars in damages to Massachusetts residents by contaminating Massachusetts drinking water and damaging natural resources. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina and alleges repeated violations of state and federal laws protecting drinking water and prohibiting consumer deception.

Michigan

  • Michigan Attorney General Nessel issued a Notice of Intended Action (NIA) to a tree-trimming company, Canary Tree Service, following complaints of price gouging. Attorney General Nessel stated the Office had probable cause to believe the company is violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by misleading consumers about agreements, costs of services, and financial responsibility for costs not paid by insurance. This NIA comes after Attorney General Nessel announced her office was investigating potential price gouging related to the tornado in Gaylord.

Missouri

  • Missouri Attorney General Schmitt filed a lawsuit against fencing contractor Joseph Murray, operating as Affordable Fence, for unlawful business practices violative of Missouri consumer protection laws. The fencing contractor took advance payments for multiple fencing installation projects that never occurred, totaling more than $18,000 in losses for consumers.

New Jersey

  • Acting New Jersey Attorney General Platkin announced that a lawsuit by the State resulted in New Jersey-based timeshare rental and resale services company, William Andrews Burns LLC (WAB), being ordered to pay over $10 million in damages and being permanently barred from doing business in New Jersey. The lawsuit alleged that WAB operated a telemarketing scheme that preyed on elderly timeshare owners and convinced those owners to pay large advance fees for renting and/or reselling services.

New York

  • New York Attorney General James issued warnings to more than thirty online and brick-and-mortar retailers across the state to stop overcharging for baby formula. New York’s price gouging statute prohibits merchants from charging excessive prices for essential goods and services during market disruptions. Attorney General James ordered the businesses to immediately stop overcharging for baby formula and warned that overcharging for baby formula may result in legal consequences for price gouging.

Washington

  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced his office recovered an additional $6.6 million in stolen unemployment money in a massive fraud scheme perpetrated across many states. The Washington Attorney General Office has now used forfeiture laws to recover a total of $18.8 million stolen from the Employment Security Department. The fraudulent scheme used identity data harvested from data breaches to steal billions of dollars from at least 11 states during the pandemic.

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey announced a tentative $161.5 million settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., AbbVies Allergan, and their family companies directly ahead of closing arguments after a seven-week trial. The judge agreed to put the trial on hold and allow the parties an opportunity to negotiate a complete settlement agreement. West Virginia would receive $134.5 million in cash and $27 million worth of Narcan under the tentative settlement.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • In light of increased baby formula shortages due to recalls and supply chain disruptions, New York Attorney General Letitia James posted a warning to retailers that price gouging is illegal. Similarly, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr informed Georgia consumers about the scams and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking her to immediately declare an “abnormal disruption of the market” in Oregon pursuant to ORS 401.965.
  • A coalition of 41 state attorneys general wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urging support of the Debt Bondage Repair Act, which restores the credit of human trafficking survivors. Signed into law in December 2021, the Debt Bondage Repair Act prohibits credit-rating agencies from providing consumer reports that contain negative items about human trafficking survivors from any period during which the individual was being trafficked.
  • A coalition of seven state attorneys general wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, urging the approval of the merger between Tractor Supply Company and Orscheln Farm & Home. The letter explains how the merger will benefit rural Americans and urges the FTC to swiftly complete its review and allow the transaction to proceed.

Arizona

  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a consent judgment against Mark Anthony Smith, the owner and manager of debt collection businesses CMS Financial Group, John Lee Group & Associates, and TD Financial Solutions Group AZ. The judgment permanently bars Smith from participating in any debt collection activities and requires Smith to pay more than $1.6 million for consumer restitution.

Arkansas

  • Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge initiated a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers for manipulating and inflating insulin and drug prices in Arkansas. In the complaint, Attorney General Rutledge alleges that several drug manufacturers conspired with Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) to significantly increase their revenues by unfairly and deceptively driving up the costs of insulin.
  • Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge publicized a final judgment against two chiropractic clinics, 501 Pain & Rehab, LLC and 501 Pain and Rehab Family Clinic of Russellville, LLC. The Court found the Defendants violated the Personal Information Privacy Act and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for failing to secure and protect their patients’ personal information from unauthorized access or use and failing to properly dispose of the personal information as required by law after hundreds of patient files containing unencrypted and unredacted personal information were dumped in a park.

Colorado

  • Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with Comcast allowing approximately 40,000 Comcast customers in Colorado can switch without penalty to a new plan that does not include a monthly $9.95 fee for high-definition (HD) television service.

Maine

  • Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey issued an alert about scammers claiming to be the “Maine IRS” and requesting social security numbers, maiden names, and other sensitive information—stating that such information was needed to process $850 relief checks.

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella announced the release of the report of the Charitable Trusts Unit objecting to the proposed merger transaction involving GraniteOne Health and Dartmouth Health. The proposal as currently structured would have consolidated two competing health care systems with many hospitals, physician practices and outpatient services—resulting in a single system ultimately controlled by Dartmouth Health. 
  • Attorney General Formella also publicized that the Attorney General’s Office has reached an agreement with Navient Corporation and Navient Solutions, LLC, a student loan servicer, to provide $3,590,988.96 in debt cancellation for 129 New Hampshire student loan borrowers.  The consent judgment resolves several allegations that Navient violated the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act.

New York

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James offered guidance to protect the privacy of individuals seeking abortion care and prevent unwanted digital tracking and data sharing. Recent reports indicate that online platforms and consumer apps, like those widely used to track fertility and menstrual cycles, have been collecting and sharing consumers’ personal information.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein published an article about cryptocurrency-related scams, specifically identifying scams such as demands by purported vendors to make payments in crypto.

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged consumers to be on guard against impostors using social media platforms to promise government grants. Recently, consumers have reported being contacted via social media from scammers who claim to be friends, family and others the consumer trustsincluding a link to a State Supreme Court Justice.

Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Multistate

  • A multistate coalition of state attorneys general announced a $19.2 million settlement with Ford Motor Company. The settlement resolves allegations that the company made misleading statements about the fuel economy of its 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids as well as misrepresented the payload capacity of model year 2011–2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. The settlement includes injunctive terms in addition to the payment.
  • A bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asking it to support the Debt Bondage Repair Act’s intent in its rulemaking implementing amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Debt Bondage Repair Act bans credit rating agencies from providing consumer reports containing negative items about survivors of human trafficking during the time in which they were being trafficked.
  • Colorado, Vermont, Arizona, and Kansas announced a settlement with Pfizer, resolving allegations that it failed to honor copayment coupons for three of its medications, Estring, Quillivant, and Flecto0r Patch. Pfizer offered these coupons, which were intended to help patients with out-of-pocket costs, from at least 2014-2018. However, patients ended up paying more than the guaranteed amount. The settlement includes restitution to consumers and payments to the attorneys general offices.
  • A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general filed two amicus briefs, defending the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in cases that were filed by Sanofi SA, Novartis Pharmaceutics, United Therapeutics Corp and NovoNordisk, who are refusing to comply with the federal 340B discounted drug program. The attorneys general are defending the program, arguing that it ensures access to discounted prescription drugs for low-income and underserved communities.
  • Florida Attorney General Moody and Nevada Attorney General Ford announced partnerships with the Federal Communications Commission to fight robocalls. These partnerships are intended to allow for information sharing and cooperation that will create more efficient and effective enforcement.
  • State attorneys general applauded the Federal Communications Commission for adopting rules that would prevent illegal robocalls originating abroad from using the United States phone network. A coalition of 51 attorneys general previously sought rules such as this one.
  • New York Attorney General James and New Jersey Acting Attorney General Platkin announced investigations into social media platforms including Discord and Twitch following the Buffalo supermarket shooting. The investigations center around whether the platforms violated consumer protection laws by neglecting to moderate harmful content, after reports that the shooter used the platforms to plan and publicize the attack.

District of Columbia

  • Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine filed a lawsuit against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly participating in decision-making that permitted the Cambridge Analytica data breach and for allegedly misleading users about data protection and privacy.

Florida

  • Florida Attorney General Moody announced a judgment of over $20 million against several moving companies involved in a deceptive moving scheme. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants engaged in several misleading acts, including deceptive pricing and falsely advertising the companies as professional services with well-trained employees, when the contractors were actually untrained and used rented trucks. The judgment also includes a lifetime ban.

Illinois

  • Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement with Sodexo Inc., including the company’s agreement to stop using “no-hire” clauses in client contracts. Attorney General Raoul previously alleged that the company used these clauses without notifying its employees. The settlement also requires Sodexo to notify affected employees and rescind the clauses at issue.  

Michigan

  • Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that she is sending investigators to look into reported instances of price gouging in Gaylord after a tornado occurred there last week. Attorney General Nessel stated, “My department’s investigators are on the ground in Gaylord to ensure the price of goods and services are fair and not artificially inflated to take advantage of the circumstances.”

New Jersey

  • New Jersey Acting Attorney General Platkin announced a settlement with Weichert Co. and affiliated real estate and financial companies related to allegations of insufficient cybersecurity safeguards, which allowed unauthorized network access and resulted in three data breaches exposing consumers’ and employees’ personal information. The settlement includes a $1.2 million payment and requires new security policies to be implemented.

New York

  • New York Attorney General James announced that her office recovered $36 million from H&M for unlawfully retaining millions of dollars in unused gift cards that should have gone to the Office of Unclaimed Funds. The agreement requires the company to pay a penalty and transfer the money it owes to New York’s Abandoned Property Fund.
  • New York Attorney General James and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that they ended a predatory debt collection operation including JPL Recovery Solutions and other companies, which threatened consumers with consequences if they did not pay, inflated the amount of owed debts, and contacted third parties to harass consumers. The debt collection operation must pay $4 million, and its principals are permanently banned from the industry.

Washington

  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that one of the chicken producers in his antitrust lawsuit, Mar-Jac Poultry, will pay $725,000 to resolve the Office’s claims against it, as well as cooperate with the Office to provide information and agree to conduct internal training. This is the first such resolution of the lawsuit.