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

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

  • Florida Attorney General Moody announced that her Consumer Protection Division has secured almost $3 million after a trial against The Surrogacy Group, LLC and its owner for providing deceptive services to couples who are seeking to have a child through surrogacy. The judgment includes over $2 million in consumer restitution and $720,000 in civil penalties for unfair and deceptive conduct. This conduct included making false or misleading representations to solicit business, accepting large fees for services the business did not provide, and misappropriating funds for personal use.
  • New York Attorney General James announced that she and Governor Cuomo have renewed for the eighth time the state’s order to halt the collection of medical and student debt that has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection. The renewal will last through December 31, 2020.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

  • Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge announced several lawsuits against illegal pyramid schemes in Arkansas. The defendants allegedly told consumers they could earn a 700% return on their investments and also “bless” their communities by joining “Blessing Loom” boards and by recruiting other members. The defendants did not offer any products or services in return for the consumers’ investments but did offer an opportunity to earn money. The defendants eventually began using the consumers’ contributed money as their own. Each defendant could face a fine of $10,000 for each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Monday, November 2, 2020

  • New Jersey Attorney General Grewal announced that Wakefern Food Corp. and two of its ShopRite supermarket entities agreed to pay $235,000 and improve data security to resolve allegations that they did not adequately protect more than 9,700 New Jersey shoppers’ personal information. The companies failed to properly dispose of electronic devices that they used to collect pharmacy customers’ signatures and purchase information.

Friday, October 30, 2020

  • It was announced that West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey reached a $101.35 million settlement with 11 paving and asphalt companies, representing the largest single-state antitrust settlement in West Virginia’s history. The settlement resolves allegations that the companies conspired to monopolize West Virginia’s asphalt and paving market, reducing competition and maximizing profits at the expense of taxpayers.
  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that a King County Superior Court Commissioner ordered a fraudulent Auburn property management company, NW Property Solutions, to pay $500,000 in restitution and penalties for making unauthorized modifications to homes and then refusing to pay the homeowners.
  • California Attorney General Becerra led a multi-jurisdiction lawsuit challenging the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) decision to revoke full access to federal employment data that state and local fair employment practice agencies use to monitor and combat workplace discrimination. The lawsuit is arguing that the EEOC’s decision violates the Civil Rights Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The attorneys general of Maryland and Minnesota also joined the lawsuit.
  • California Attorney General Becerra and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation filed a complaint against Alpine Helicopter Service, Inc. and its pilots for alleged incidents of pesticide drift that harmed nearby communities. The complaint is seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief.