Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AG’s have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, November 23, 2020
- New Jersey Attorney General Grewal announced complaints against four doctors and revoked the license of a fifth for writing “off-label” prescriptions for high dosages of a strong and highly addictive opioid and cancer pain medication for non-cancer patients. The doctors allegedly wrote the prescriptions after receiving payments from the drug’s manufacturer Insys Therapeutics, Inc. through a sham speaker program.
- Missouri Attorney General Schmitt announced that his office resolved lawsuits against homeowners associations Country Club Homes and Crestwood Club Homes Association for failing to remove racially restrictive covenants from their governing documents. The Attorney General’s Office filed a notice of voluntary dismissal after it received documentation that the two associations removed the racially restrictive covenants.
- Law360 reported that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) pushed back on a motion for default judgment based on settlement negotiations and inability to pay, asking a California district judge to make student loan business GST Factoring Inc. and its owner pay over $53 million for the business’s role in an alleged student debt relief scheme. This CFPB’s request comes after a July 13 complaint which alleged that from 2015 to the present the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by collecting $11.8 million in illegal advance fees from about 2,600 clients.
Friday, November 20, 2020
- Ohio Attorney General Yost announced a consumer protection lawsuit against car dealership Worldwide Auto Sales after receiving around 80 complaints that the company was failing to deliver vehicle titles to consumers. The lawsuit also alleges that the company failed to deliver vehicle warranties and misrepresented details of sales, and it seeks restitution, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.
- Florida Attorney General Moody’s office announced an agreement with radiology practice Mori, Bean and Brooks, P.A. to resolve allegations of health care fraud. According to the press release, an investigation found that the company “knowingly submitted false claims to the Medicaid program for the interpretation of radiological images that were ineligible for reimbursement.” The company has agreed to pay $161,694 to resolve the lawsuit.
- Law360 reported that many tech companies are urging the DC Federal Court handling the Google antitrust suit to only allow Google’s outside counsel to access sensitive confidential information that the companies shared as part of the DOJ’s investigation. Google has proposed a protective order to allow its in-house attorneys to access the information, but the companies are arguing that Google’s plan is not enough, that “the unique risks of inadvertent disclosure and improper use of their highly confidential materials ‘substantially outweighs any need identified by Google,’” and that “[d]isclosing these particularly sensitive documents to any Google employee risks serious harm to the non-parties and to the strong public interest in competition.”
- Law360 reported that a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lawsuit has accused Illinois debt relief and credit repair services company FDATR Inc. and its former owners of abusive telemarketing from 2011 until at least April 2019, charging disproportionately high fees, and making claims about reducing or eliminating student loan payments and improving credit scores when it was really just filing loan-consolidation paperwork.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro announced that his office settled with Event Ticket Sales LLC for failing to disclose fees prior to ticket purchases and for its refund policy. As part of the announcement, Attorney General Shapiro stated, “Advertising one price and charging another will roll out the red carpet to an investigation by my office. Consumers need to know how much money their credit cards will be charged before they click to buy a ticket for a concert, show, or event. And promised refunds for canceled events must be honored.” Under the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, the company has agreed to change its disclosure of fees and provide full refunds for all Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets for canceled events.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement resolving his lawsuit against Hilco Redevelopment, LLC, following a lawsuit Raoul filed following the release of contaminants as part of the demolition of a smokestack. The consent order requires the company to adhere to dust mitigation plans for the rest of the demolition project and provide funding to support the neighboring community’s long-term health and wellness.
- Arizona Attorney General Brnovich announced that his office is partnering with CVS Pharmacy on a new consumer fraud awareness program to combat gift card scams in Arizona. All CVS Pharmacy Stores in Arizona will display the STOP signs at gift displays to prompt customers to stop and think about why they are buying a gift card and remind customers that gift cards cannot be used to pay government agencies.
- Antitrust Law Daily reported that Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) proposed the “One Agency Act,” which would consolidate antitrust enforcement authority in the DOJ and remove the FTC’s authority over antitrust matters, though it would not change the FTC’s enforcement powers over unfair and deceptive acts and practices. According to the article, “Lee cited the FTC’s antitrust case against Qualcomm and the differing positions of the two federal antitrust agencies on the case as reasons for consolidating enforcement in one agency.”